CHARLEVOIX COUNTY: Bay Township murder suspect Matthew Fruge attorneys may go for ‘insanity’ defense


According to a Tuesday Oct. 26 press release from the Charlevoix Count Prosecuting Attorney, lawyers Bay Township murder suspect Matthew Mark Fruge, 34, of Boyne City, filed papers indicating they may raise an insanity defense to the open murder charged filed against Fruge.

They also sought an examination regarding competency.


As a result, 90th District Court Judge James N. Erhart signed an order requiring the Center for Forensic Psychiatry to conduct evaluations regarding Fruge’s competency to stand trial as well as criminal responsibility.

Under Michigan law, a defendant to a criminal charge shall be presumed competent tostand trial.

He shall be determined incompetent to stand trial only if he is incapable because of his mental condition of understanding the nature and object of the proceedings against him or of assisting in his defense in a rational manner.

When a report regarding competency is received from the Center, a competency hearing must be held within five days.

If Fruge is found to be competent to stand trial, proceedings against him will move forward.  The issue of legal insanity would ultimately be determined at trial.

An individual is legally insane if, as a result of mental illness or as a result of having an intellectual disability that person lacks substantial capacity either to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his or her conduct or to conform his or her conduct to the requirements of the law.

The burden of proof is on the defense to prove insanity by a preponderance of the evidence.

Fruge is charged with the murder of Jacob Conklin in Bay Township on Oct. 1.

Fruge is being held without bond in the Charlevoix County Jail.