Man pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to stabbing death

August 29, 2023

Nicholas Blough

Man pleads not guilty by reason of insanity to stabbing death

He will be committed indefinitely to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry 

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor

LUDINGTON — A 37-year-old Amber Township man pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity” for the March 16, 2022 stabbing death of Kenneth Lee Schweitzer, 71, of Ludington during a pretrial hearing in Mason County’s 51st Circuit Court Tuesday, Aug. 29. 

Nicholas David Blough pleaded “not guilty by reason of insanity” to charges of involuntary manslaughter and assaulting/resisting/obstructing police. Blough will be committed to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Saline. His commitment includes up to 60 days for a psychiatric examination and then an “indefinite amount of time,” said Judge Susan K. Sniegowski. 

A charge of open murder, which is punishable by up to life in prison, is being dismissed. Involuntary manslaughter carries a 15-year maximum, and assaulting/resisting/obstructing police has a two-year maximum term.

Blough was arrested following a foot chase from the murder scene where Schweitzer was found dead in a Hamlin Township home after the stabbing.

Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Kreinbrink said she was presented with a resolution to the case by Blough’s defense attorney, Tracie Dinehart, Sunday, Aug. 27. In light of the plea, there will not be a trial.

Judge Sniegowski said she reviewed five exhibits that demonstrate Blough was “legally insane” at the time of the stabbing death. Exhibits include reports from the Mason County Sheriff’s Office, the Western Michigan School of Medicine, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (two separate reports on competency to stand trial and criminal responsibility) and an independent evaluation on criminal responsibility by Dr. Jeffrey Wendt, who specializes in psychology. 

The sheriff’s report demonstrates that Blough stabbed Schweitzer, and the stabbing was the cause of his death, said the judge. There is a “preponderance of evidence” contained in the other documents that Blough meets the definition of “legally insane with severe symptoms of mental illness,” she said. “He was legally insane at the time of the stabbing.”

Immediately following the hearing, Blough was to be transported to the Center for Forensic Psychiatry by Mason County sheriff’s deputies.

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