A 90-year-old Maplewood man charged with fatally shooting his oldest son during an argument over watching television will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

Kenneth H. Bowser, sitting in a wheelchair, made his first court appearance Tuesday at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center after being charged earlier this week with second-degree murder in the death Saturday of his son Larry Bowser, 65.

Larry Bowser, who had lived with his father for at least the past decade, had told neighbors that his father had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and that his condition had worsened.

At Tuesday’s hearing before Judge Jeffrey Bryan, only the top of Kenneth Bowser’s head was visible over a wooden divider that separates in-custody defendants from the rest of the court.

During the hearing, attorney Albert Goins argued that his client be placed on intensive supervised release, saying that he had no criminal record and that he was not a threat.

“He’s very frail,” said Goins, who added that Bowser’s relatives in the courtroom had said they would be responsible for watching over him.

Kenneth Bowser has a catheter and is likely suffering from other issues, including what could be dementia, Goins said. During earlier conversations with Goins, Bowser sometimes seemed incoherent or did not respond or seem to understand, Goins said.

Goins requested a “Rule 20” evaluation to determine if Bowser was mentally competent to stand trial. Bryan granted that request.

Bowser will remain in custody for the evaluation. A discussion on setting his bail will be held after the evaluation during a hearing in October.

After Tuesday’s hearing, Michael Bowser said he wished the judge would have released his father under supervision.

“He’s not a flight risk,” Michael Bowser said. “He’s not a threat.”

Michael Bowser called the case “a sad situation” and said his brother Larry was going to be missed.

 

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