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Presho man pleads insanity in attempted murder case

The Lyman County courthouse in Kennebec. (Republic file photo)

KENNEBEC—A Presho man charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to all charges on Thursday morning.

Mark Cook, 56, was arrested on the morning of Oct. 26 when a man was found with a gunshot wound to the leg. The man reportedly told police that when he got to work at a farm facility south of Presho, he found Cook waiting for him with a shotgun. After an argument, Cook allegedly said he was going to kill the man and then shot him in the leg.

The injured man got away from Cook, who reportedly was preparing to fire again, by getting into his truck. Cook then drove away and was located at his home by police later that day.

A motion for psychiatric evaluation was filed by Cook's attorney, Robert Konrad, just before Cook's plea hearing on Thursday. Konrad wrote in the motion that discovery material and police reports show that Cook and the victim had "an argument and scuffle" the night before the alleged shooting, and that although Cook has no history of violent crime, "it is possible that the words and threats spoken the evening before, coupled with Defendant's own past traumatic experiences caused him temporary insanity."

Konrad also wrote that the evaluation would be beneficial because he believes Cook may be suffering from mental conditions that affect his competency to stand trial and because the defense would likely order an evaluation if Cook were to plead guilty or be found guilty.

The motion was noted to have also been approved by Lyman County State's Attorney Steve Smith.

Cook is charged with attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault causing bodily injury with indifference to human life and one count of aggravated assault causing bodily injury with a dangerous weapon. He originally pleaded not guilty on all counts on Nov. 8.