A western Iowa teen found not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of his foster brother poses “a great danger to others” and will need lifelong monitoring “to help minimize his risk to the public and to himself,” according to a judge’s order. The Daily NonPareil reports the order commits 18-year old Cody Metzker-Madsen to a psychiatric unit within the Iowa Department of Corrections for an indefinite period of time. Metzker-Madsen killed 5-year-old Dominic Elkins, of Atlantic, as the two played outside at a foster home north of Logan, in Harrison County.
Dominic’s body was found in a wooded ravine with a stream. An autopsy determined that he died from blunt force head injuries and drowning. The two boys had been staying at the home of foster parents Don and Julie Coolman, who were not home at the time.
During his seven-day trial in late October and early November, Metzker-Madsen testified that he remembered killing a goblin with a brick while in a fantasy world. He said he didn’t realize until later that it was Dominic whom he had killed. Metzker-Madsen’s mother also testified that she used methamphetamine during her first three months of pregnancy.
On Nov. 7th, District Judge Kathleen Kilnoski found Metzker-Madsen not guilty of first-degree murder by reason of insanity. She ordered him committed to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center at Oakdale and ordered the chief medical officer there to report to her a diagnosis and also an opinion on whether Metzker-Madsen was a threat to others. The report was not made public. But Kilnoski’s order, filed Thursday, quotes from it.
Metzker-Madsen’s provisional diagnoses include oppositional defiant disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, psychotic disorder not otherwise specified and personality disorder not otherwise specified, with anti-social traits. The order describes him as having “borderline intellectual functioning.”
According to the judge’s order, Metzker-Madsen “poses a great danger to others, and indirectly to himself, because of his limited functioning and mood instability. The evaluating psychiatrist said it was her opinion that the defendant requires ‘continued long-term placement in a highly structured and secure environment. … (H)e will need lifelong monitoring and structure to help minimize his risk to the public and to himself.’ ” The judge concluded that Metzker-Madsen is “seriously mentally ill and dangerous to himself and others.” She ordered him committed to the Iowa Department of Corrections for placement at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital at Oakdale.
Robert Rigg, director of the criminal defense program at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, said Metzker-Madsen will probably never be released, unless some way is found to successfully treat him. Last month Dominic’s mother, Barbara Kunch, withdrew a lawsuit that she had filed in October accusing Don and Julie Coolman of failing to properly care for and supervise Dominic and Metzker-Madsen. Court documents did not list a reason why.