Judge will allow insanity plea for Mark David Latunski in Bacon murder case

 Mark David Latunski appears for a arraignment on a video feed from the Shiawassee County Jail.
Mark David Latunski appears for a arraignment on a video feed from the Shiawassee County Jail. (WJRT)
Published: Jan. 8, 2020 at 11:07 AM EST
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(1/8/2020) - An insanity plea has been granted for Mark David Latunski in the murder of 25-year-old Kevin Bacon of Swartz Creek.

Latunski will undergo a psychological evaluation after a Shiawassee County judge agreed to grant the defense team's request during a brief hearing Wednesday morning.

Latunski once again appeared by video in the courtroom. He didn't show any emotion -- just stared forward and listened to the hearing.

His attorney, Shiawassee County Public Defender Doug Corwin, explained to the judge that 50-year-old Latunski has had to complete mental competency exams in prior cases and undergo treatment as a result.

Corwin also mentioned the name issue. At his arraignment on Dec. 30, Latunski said his name is Edgar Thomas Hill and that Mark David Latunski is his nephew.

Corwin added that Latunski has also said he's from the Thomas Clan, a royal family out of Wales.

Latunski will head to the Michigan Center for Forensic Psychiatry within the next 60 days. He'll be tested there to determine whether he's competent to stand trial and whether he was competent at the time he allegedly killed Kevin Bacon.

"So for about at least the next 60 days, this case is gonna be put on hold until we get all of the testing done," Corwin said.

Latunski is facing two charges in his brutal death, including open murder and mutilating Bacon's dead body. He will remain at the Shiawassee County Jail while he awaits transport to the forensic psychology center.

The testing there will begin by determining whether Latunski is sane now and mentally competent for court proceedings. If so, officials will test whether Latunski was sane when he allegedly killed Bacon.

There will not be another court hearing for Latunski until the mental competency testing is completed.

If those tests show he is competent to stand trial, legal proceedings will continue in the case. If not, Latunski will remain in custody at a mental treatment facility until he reaches competency.

"Theoretically, if he was found incompetent, he'd be hospitalized in a controlled setting as long as it takes," Corwin said. "They would have to find him not to be a danger to release and I can't guess how long that'll take."

Corwin said investigators will gather information on the four other times the court ordered Latunski to undergo mental health treatment and compile a report, which he's expecting will take some time.

"In my experience, especially a case like this, it's going to take a little longer," Corwin said. "The Forensic Center is pretty backed up right now, so there's a delay in getting people down there to get evaluated."

He described Latunski as cooperative and polite based on his interactions since his Latunski's arrest on Dec. 28. Corwin said Latunski is behaving in jail, so he's sharing a cell with another inmate.

ABC12 is researching Latunski's mental health history and the timeline of the case involving Bacon's murder. Watch for more information on ABC12 First at Four, ABC12 News at Six and online.