Mental fitness at issue for Arlington Heights man accused of killing dad

Faced with conflicting psychiatric reports about the fitness of 42-year-old Steven Cole to stand trial, Cook County Judge Ellen Mandletort said she will “err on the side of caution” and reserve judgment until after she hears arguments from both sides.

Cole, a former mixed martial arts fighter who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, faces first-degree murder charges in the death of his father, Stuart Cole, 69, who police found stabbed to death in the family’s Arlington Heights home on June 13, 2011.

A prosecution expert had previously found Cole mentally fit, but did not indicate that Cole requires medication. During a hearing Wednesday, Cook County Assistant Public Defender Helen Tsimouris informed the court that her expert found Cole fit to stand trial if he is taking medication. The defense expert also determined that Cole suffers from a mental illness, Tsimouris said.

Mandletort said she will hear arguments from both sides on July 2.

Police discovered the elder Cole’s body after responding to a 911 call from Cole reporting that he had killed his father. Police found the victim in the family room, where he appeared to have been stabbed as he lay on the couch, prosecutors said during Cole’s bond hearing nearly two years ago. During that initial appearance, a tearful Cole made rambling statements and claimed he had been mentally and physically abused. Family members have denied those claims.

Prosecutors say police had been called to the home “numerous times.” In 2000, Steven Cole attacked and injured his father in the presence of police officers responding to a report of a domestic battery, prosecutors said. Cole reportedly threatened to kill the victim at that time and again in 2007 when he threatened to kill both parents, prosecutors said.

If convicted, Cole faces 20 to 60 years in prison. He next appears in court on July 2.

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