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Man charged with killing 5 family members to undergo competency assessment

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee man charged with killing five people this week will have to undergo a mental health assessment under an order a court commissioner made Friday.

Christopher Stokes, 43, made his initial appearance via Zoom in Milwaukee County Court Friday morning.

He faces six felony charges. If found guilty, he could face up to five life sentences plus 35 years in prison.

Milwaukee police said five victims -- ages 14, 16, 17, 19 and 41 -- were found dead in a home near 12th and Hadley on Monday.

The criminal complaint shows the suspect called 911 twice. He identified himself and said, "I just massacred my whole family." When officers arrived on scene Monday, they said they found Stokes sitting on the front steps. When they asked stokes if he heard shots, he said he fired them.

Milwaukee County Judicial Court Commissioner Barry Phillips said in court that he read the criminal complaint and it does have probable cause.

Stokes’ attorney told the commissioner she questions whether Stokes is competent to go through the court process.

"I talked to Mr. Stokes over the phone. Then, I had to go over to the jail and meet with him in person, and it's my belief that there are competency issues," said attorney Melissa Fitzsimmons.

The court commissioner ordered a competency exam be performed. It's a mental health assessment of the defendant's ability to understand and participate in the court process.

Stokes' next court date is scheduled for June 11. The doctor's report on the competency exam is set to be returned by that date.

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Lawrence 35 days ago
Formality. Will be found impaired but well enough to proceed to trial.
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