Sunday, October 12, 2008

U.S ex-marine awaiting trial for murder of Costa Rican doctor

By Uri Ridelman

Frederick Marlon Kelch, a former U.S. marine who fatally shot Harlen Fonseca Reyes, using an M-16 is now serving house arrest as he awaits for his trial to begin.

The homicide took place in Moravia, northeast of San Jose on May 21, 2008. Police sources said that the American, 50, climbed the roof of his house to shoot, at least six times, against Fonseca, a 28-year-old doctor, who was in the kitchen of his apartment with other members of his family.

When authorities arrived to the crime scene they had to negotiate with Kelch for eight hours to convince him to turn himself in. The ex-marine had barricated himself in a house that he shared with his wife and two boys, ages 5 and 14.

According to some neighbors, this wasn't the first time Kelch did this. In previous occasions he fired from the roof of his home and hit several houses in the neighborhood as he insulted bystanders.

Apparently fhe former Marine suffers from delusional episodes caused by mental disorders that could be a consequence of his years of military service.

A police spokesman said that Kelch's records include charges of drug posession, posession of illegal weapons, assault and armed robberies in New York. He has been in Costa Rica for eight years, but his visa had long expired, Immigration officials said.

After his arrest Kelch was evaluated by psychiatric and psycological experts and they confirmed that he suffers from mental disorders, although they didn't exactly reveal publicly which ones.

He was then sent to the Psychiatric National Hospital in Pavas for three months to undergo psychiatric and psycological treatment. There he was guarded by police officers and kept away from the non-violent patients.

Costa Rican authorities have contacted the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to find out if he was wanted in another country but apparently that isn't the case.

According to Costa Rica's legislation it's possible that the American may be found untriable and unaccountable and thus, sent back to the psychaitric institution where he could continue to be guarded by policemen and kept apart from the rest of the inmates for an indefinite time.

This due to the fact that Costa Rica lacks an institution dedicated exclusively to properly treat, guard and deal with violent and dangerous mentally-ill offenders.

Information from La Nacion, Al Dia and Diario Extra newspapers was used in this article.

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