Shawnee County Fights Release Of Man Declared Insane In Murder Case

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Shawnee County officials are challenging a ruling to have a man who was declared insane after beating an elderly Topeka woman to death released to a Topeka facility.

Hal Bates was committed to Larned State Hospital after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the March 2001 beating death of Elizabeth Cowpertherwaite. The 85-year old was dead outside her townhome near SW 27th and Arrowhead. Bates was living at a Menninger group home in the same block.

The Topeka Capital Journal reports a Pawnee County judge in April ordered Bates be moved to a mental health facility in Topeka. The paper reports Lee McGowan, Shawnee County's senior assistant district attorney, filed a motion July 21st to have that order set aside.

Court records show Shawnee County's motion to set aside the order will be discussed at a docket hearing Thursday.