The man charged with the murder of a Camas County resident in 2003 has once again been declared mentally incapable of standing trial for a 16-year-old case that rattled the small county.
During a status conference on Aug. 5, Idaho Attorney General’s Office’s Criminal Law Division told 5th District Judge Ned Williamson that Harley Robert Park, 40, is living in an outpatient facility and currently working, but that he is still incapable of standing trial for the crime that he allegedly committed.
Kristina Maria Schindele, an attorney with the Attorney General’s Office, said she advised the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare that the state has filed a motion to recommit Park for another year. Park’s attorney, Doug Nelson, had nothing to add, and the case was scheduled for another status conference in one year.
Park was committed to State Hospital South in Blackfoot in 2006 when then 5th District Judge Robert Elgee found that he was “dangerously mentally ill.”
In 2015, the case was reopened after the state determined that Park was found to be mentally fit to stand trial. State prosecutors amended the first-degree murder charge to involuntary manslaughter and the trial was scheduled for June 2016. But the trial was vacated after a mental-health evaluation by a psychologist found Park still mentally incapable of assisting in his own defense.
Since then, the case has been brought before the presiding 5th District judge annually to review the case and get an update on Park’s mental state.
Park was described as a transient in 2003 when he allegedly beat 61-year-old Lynn Stevenson to death at a nine-hole golf course near Soldier Mountain, north of Fairfield. According to a 2003 police report written by Camas County Sheriff Dave Sanders, Stevenson had befriended Park and had allowed him to live and work at the golf course, which Stevenson owned.
Sanders stated that Park thought Stevenson was the devil and killed him by choking him and “repeatedly punching and kicking him in the head while wearing steel-toed work boots.”
According to reporting by the Idaho Mountain Express at the time, the murder had a profound effect on the 400-person community of Fairfield.