Coconino County Superior Court Judge Mark Moran gave little weight to a conclusion by a defense expert that Scott Curley was incompetent because he said the expert's methodology wasn't valid. Moran ruled Thursday that Curley has a rational and functional understanding of the proceedings and can aid in his defense.
The prosecution and defense had agreed that Curley is mentally ill. But they disagreed over whether he could help his lawyers mount a defense that could include insanity.
Curley's attorneys said they've been frustrated by his intent on proving psychotic beliefs.
His trial is set for October.
Curley faces charges of premeditated first degree murder, aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated assault on a citizen, burglary and theft in connection with the murder of Kane County, Utah, sheriff's deputy Brian Harris, who was killed in August 2010 as he was chasing the suspect east of Fredonia along the Utah-Arizona border.
After the shooting, Curley took off and was believed to be hiding in a six-mile, mountainous area east of Fredonia.
Curley's friends told officers he had food stored in what officers called "spider holes" in the mountains where police believe he hid for nearly three days.
Police were after Curley for a string of burglaries in the area in which he targeted schools and stole bizarre things like a box of burritos. Harris caught up with him after one of the thefts and during a foot pursuit was shot and killed by a high-powered rifle.
Curley was arrested after a massive manhunt when police received a call from a man in Lost Springs, Utah, east of Kanab, Utah, claiming a man with a rifle slung over his shoulder was trying to break into his house.
When authorities arrived they found an exhausted Curley and took him into custody.