Father to get psych evaluation

A Norton Shores man charged with killing his 10-week-old baby will have a competency examination before the case goes any further.
Becky Vargo
Jan 24, 2013

Anthony Casanova, 40, was charged with open murder after he allegedly dropped and killed his son, Tyler Casanova, earlier this month.

Casanova was scheduled to have a preliminary examination Wednesday morning in Muskegon County District Court. Instead, Casanova’s attorney, Shawn Davis, asked Judge Maria Ladas Hoopes to refer his client “to a forensic center for examination on competency.”

“He does have a mental health history,” Davis said. “He has received treatment over the last several years for various mental illnesses.”

Davis said that his client believes he has multiple personalities, which was mentioned by Casanova in his statement to detectives.

In response to the judge’s questioning, Davis said he has observed some of that behavior during meetings with his client and that he believes Casanova “may not understand the proceedings” in the case.

Prosecuting Attorney D.J. Hilson said he sees no legal reason to object to the request.

Hoopes ordered the competency exam to be held within five days, following which a competency hearing would take place in the court. Casanova is to remain lodged in the Muskegon County Jail during this time.

Emergency crews were called to Casanova's home in the 5000 block of Davis Road in Norton Shores in the late afternoon of Jan. 4 after Casanova called for help.

“He told us he dropped the baby when he let the dog in and tripped over the dog,” said Norton Shores Police Chief Dan Shaw.

But the injuries on the baby’s body were inconsistent with the story Casanova told paramedics, the chief said.

An autopsy revealed internal injuries more significant than what would be expected if the child had just been dropped, Shaw said. He said some of the injuries could have come from the child being shaken.

“There’s possibly other assaultive injuries, too,” Shaw said. “Some older-looking injuries or bruising drew firefighters’ and paramedics’ attention. They pointed it out to us.”

The child’s mother, Casanova’s girlfriend, was at work at the time.

“It’s my understanding that Casanova is going through a divorce,” Hilson said.

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