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Mental Evaluation Ordered for North Fork Murder Suspect

MADERA — Criminal proceedings were temporarily suspended late last week (Jan. 17) in the case of the North Fork man accused of murder in the July 2019 death of prominent Mono tribal elder Gaylen Lee.

Robert Moye’s July 2019 booking photo

Robert Eugene Moye, 47, made another appearance in Madera Superior Court Friday morning for a hearing that was expected to be another preliminary step on the way to scheduling a trial date.

But after Moye’s attorney questioned his client’s mental health, Judge Michael Jurkovich temporarily suspended criminal proceedings and ordered Moye to undergo a mental evaluation by two doctors.

“At this point, I have concerns about my client’s competency,” Moye’s court-appointed attorney, Craig Collins, told the judge.

Assistant District Attorney Brooke Bergman, who is prosecuting the case, agreed to the delay and the judge ordered two local doctors to evaluate Moye — and submit their reports to the court by March 6.

The judge also ordered that Moye return to court on March 13 for a hearing to review the doctors’ reports.

But before Friday morning’s hearing even started, Courtroom 22 was closed for a private so-called “Marsden” motion during which Moye attempted to fire Collins as his attorney.

After a 20-minute closed hearing, Judge Michael Jurkovich denied Moye’s request and then public was allowed back in the courtroom. As usual, friends and more than half a dozen members of Lee’s family attended Friday’s hearing.

Moye has been jailed on a $3.75 million bond since his arrest on July 6 of last year in the hours immediately following the shooting, which occurred near Lee’s home on Cascadel Drive (Road 233) in North Fork.

Moye has entered pleas of not guilty to the murder charge as well as two counts of attempted murder, being a felon/addict in possession of a firearm and possession of marijuana/hashish for sale (over 2 ounces).

The shooting took place as Lee and his family were gathering following the passing two days earlier of Lee’s mother, Ruby Pomona, who died on July 4.

Many of the details surrounding the late-night shooting have yet to be made public but after Moye’s last hearing in December 2019, public defender Collins told SNO that his client intended to argue the shooting took place in self-defense.

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