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Competency hearing to decide if triple murder suspect mentally ill, too dangerous for release

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BILLINGS, Montana — A federal judge has scheduled a hearing to decide if a man charged in a triple murder on southwest Montana's Crow Indian Reservation is mentally ill and too dangerous to be released.

Twenty-five-year-old Sheldon Bernard Chase has been held for more than a year at a government psychiatric hospital in Missouri. He's charged with shooting his grandmother, cousin and cousin's boyfriend after an argument at their home near Lodge Grass in October 2011.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters on Tuesday scheduled a May 8 competency hearing to determine if Chase suffers from continuing mental problems and if his release would create a public danger.

Authorities have petitioned for Chase to be institutionalized indefinitely. They've said he would have to be forcibly medicated with anti-psychotics to stand trial.

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