Hearing postponed in stabbing case

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SANDPOINT — A preliminary hearing in an attempted murder case is being postponed so the defendant can undergo a neurological examination.

James Leverne “Vern” Carlton is slated to be evaluated today at a Spokane Valley, Wash., according to court documents.

Bonner County Public Defender Janet Whitney moved for the evaluation after he disclosed during a psychological examination that he had suffered a traumatic brain injury. Neither the circumstances nor the date of the injury are disclosed in court records.

Bonner County Magistrate Court Judge Debra Heise granted the motion on Nov. 12.

Carlton, 60, of Post Falls, is accused of attempting to kill his estranged wife at her home north of Priest River on Sept. 30.

The 61-year-old woman survived the attack, despite being stabbed in the chest and elsewhere, court documents indicate.

The alleged victim filed for divorce in the wake of the attack and said in court filings that financial gain may have served as a partial motivation for the attempt on her life. Carlton is the beneficiary of the woman’s retirement account, valued in excess of $100,000, in the event of her death.

The woman is seeking summary judgment in the divorce proceedings, which her civil counsel argues would lessen the danger to his client if Carlton was no longer the beneficiary.

A hearing on the motion is set for next month.

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