ELY – The case of man accused in the shooting death of a Nevada Highway Patrolman is in limbo as the suspect is still awaiting transportation to a northern Nevada mental health facility and faces additional charges related to explosive devices.
John Dabritz, 65, is still in custody in Ely pending transport to Lake’s Crossing Center for a psychiatric evaluation.
Court proceedings in the case have been put on hold, according to White Pine District Attorney Michael Wheable.
“The defendant has not been transported for his evaluation,” Wheable said on Thursday. “Lake’s Crossing is not responding to calls or emails.”
A mental health evaluation was ordered in April, which would have led to a competency hearing to determine if Dabritz could stand trial on charges of open murder with a deadly weapon, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, grand larceny of a firearm and third-degree arson.
Attempts to contact the facility by Dabritz’s legal counsel and the White Pine Sheriff’s office so far “have been unsuccessful,” Wheable added, unsure if the facility is closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For now, Dabritz’s subsequent court hearings are stalled out, he said.
‘We are waiting on this to proceed with the case,” Wheable stated.
Dabritz was arrested on March 27 in the killing of NHP Sgt. Ben Jenkins of Elko on U.S. Highway 93 and stealing his uniform, sidearm and patrol vehicle.
Jenkins had approached Dabritz on the side of the road to offer assistance.
According to court documents, Dabritz was released from a Clark County mental facility about a week before the shooting and seemed unable to understand the full nature of the charges against him. He requested to see a psychiatrist upon his arrest.
Dabritz had suffered from bipolar disorder, according to his ex-wife.
In May, Dabritz was charged in Nye County with possession of an explosive device and possession of a component of an explosive device with intent to manufacture.
Dabritz had a residence in Tybo Canyon about 70 miles northeast of Tonopah, according to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.
Wheable said in April he intends to seek the death penalty in the case.