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Man accused of murdering New Meadows couple declared unfit, committed to a facility

John Cody Hart was ordered to be committed to a facility while he receives restorative treatment, according to court records.

ADAMS COUNTY, Idaho — John Cody Hart, the man police say shot and killed Hartland Inn owners Rory and Sara Mehen in New Meadows on Oct. 1, was ordered to be committed to a psychiatric facility on Monday for restorative treatment.

Hart's case is currently "stayed," or placed on hold, while he receives that treatment because he was declared unfit to proceed, a spokesperson for the Adams County Prosecutor's Office said via email.

The hearing evaluating Hart's mental status was closed to the public and later sealed, court records show. Records obtained by KTVB say the presiding judge sealed the hearing because some released information could threaten people's safety and jeopardize Hart's right to a fair trial.

According to an affidavit from the Adams County Sheriff's Office, Hart was rummaging through rooms at the Hartland Inn, where he was also staying that day. He was stealing socks when he was told to leave by a police officer. 

Hart went back to his room, the affidavit says, and then to the front counter where he is said to have shot the Mehens.

The prosecuting attorney for Adams County filed to seek the death penalty in this case, where they said "the murder was especially heinous, and Hart "exhibited utter disregard for human life," and that he could "probably constitute a continuing threat to society."

KING 5 obtained video of Hart assaulting a man in August of 2021 in Clark County, Washington. In the video, Hart is shown inside an apartment attacking a man police say he met on the dating app, Grindr.

Hart is shown repeatedly punching the man in the face, holding him by the neck and then digs his fingers into the man's eyes.

Hart was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial earlier this year in Washington. A competency report shows that Hart is an army veteran -- who has schizophrenia and a marijuana use disorder.

Hart was waiting for a bed to open up in the state psychiatric hospital, Western State Hospital, when a Washington judge let him out of jail in July.

According to police, Hart also admitted to shooting the Mehens with a glock -- but he wasn't allowed to have a gun. 

 Court documents show Judge Lewis prohibited Hart from having guns more than once. Washington law states if a person violates those orders they could face penalties, including arrest or even another charge.

When Hart was ordered to the Western State Hospital for competency restoration in mid-March, the judge again ordered Hart to refrain from owning any firearms and to "immediately surrender any concealed pistol license."

Friends and family mourned the loss of the Mehens on Oct. 4 during a vigil. Many spoke about how loved the couple was by the community.

"If I could tell Rory and Sara anything, it's just how much they'll be missed by everybody. They were the community," Matt Whitlock, a friend of the Mehens said. "We're at a loss now."

7 Investigates:

KTVB’s award winning investigative team reports on local, crime, and breaking news across Idaho.


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