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Julissa Thaler ruled competent to stand trial in son's death

A judge determined Julissa Thaler is mentally fit to take part in legal proceedings, meaning her trial on second-degree murder charges will move forward.

MINNEAPOLIS — Legal proceedings against a Spring Park woman charged with second-degree murder in the death of her young son will move forward now that she has been found competent to stand trial.  

Hennepin County District Court Judge Lisa Janzen ruled during a Zoom appearance Tuesday that Julissa Thaler is mentally fit to take part in legal proceedings, meaning the case will now move towards trial. Thaler is accused in the shooting death of her 6-year-old son Eli Hart on May 20. 

Thaler had previously refused to cooperate with a court-appointed psychiatrist attempting to determine whether she was competent. 

Orono police pulled over a vehicle Thaler was driving early the morning of May 20. The car was missing a front tire, the back window had been shot out and Eli's lifeless body was soon discovered in the trunk. An autopsy found the boy had been shot multiple times. 

RELATED: Mother charged with murder in death of 6-year-old

Search warrant documents in the case say officers who spoke with Thaler on the scene noticed blood on her face and hands, and what they suspected were human remains spattered on the inside of the vehicle. 

Eli's father Tori Hart has filed a lawsuit against Dakota Country for returning to boy to Thaler, his biological mother, despite what he maintains were numerous red flags raising questions about her fitness as a parent. 

Thaler's next court appearance is now set for Oct. 7. 

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