This case dates back to 2017, but it was just last Friday, June 26th that now 28-year-old Emanuel Joseph Doll entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for the April 27, 2017 killing of his 4-year-old nephew, Jace Emmanuel Higginbotham.
Through the intervening years, there have been numerous competency reviews.
In March, 2018 Doll was determined by Judge Michael Goodbee to be incompetent for trial and was ordered to be committed to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.
A competency review on June 12th ruled that Doll was competent to stand trial, but attorneys soon requested another competency evaluation.
During another review, January 3, 2019, one of Doll's attorneys, Brad Gifford stated that his client has one of the “most severe” cases of schizophrenia he has ever encountered.
District Judge Don Quick conceded that Doll seemed to have had “some mental illness in one form or another” and had reportedly been witnessed by multiple individuals before the death of his nephew.
It wasn't until February of this year that Judge Quick returned his decision determining that Doll had been restored to competency.
Doll is charged with first-degree murder of a child by a person in a position of trust and one count of first-degree murder after deliberation. His next court date is scheduled for July 30, 2020.
Police were called to the the 42300 block of West 126 Avenue of Broomfield, Colorado on April 27, 2017 where Charlotte and Joseph Doll had been babysitting the 4-year-old son of Doll's twin sister for approximately 30 minutes.
According to the Denver Post, the family reported hearing what sounded like “a pillowcase loaded with items hitting the floor” coming from the basement. When they asked Doll what the noise was, they reportedly told investigators he answered "nothing," before coming up the stairs.
A few minutes later, the child was found in the basement with a "massive amount of trauma,” and an iPad and a bloodied ax lying near him.
Doll was found in the back yard of the home and taken into custody.