Homicide suspect faces eval

Published 10:30 am Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The St. Paul man charged in November with critically stabbing his wife and killing an Albert Lea man will undergo a psychiatric evaluation in St. Peter to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

The lawyers for 49-year-old Pah Ber on Friday requested their client complete the review, which could take up to three months.

Pah Ber

“If he is ruled competent to stand trial, can we determine whether he knew what he was doing?” Dennis Gerhardstein, public information officer with the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, said.

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The psychiatric evaluations typically take place locally, but in cases involving murder, the defendant has the choice of going to St. Peter, Gerhardstein said. St. Peter houses a state mental hospital.

Ber faces one charge of second-degree murder in the death of 40-year-old Po Lye, of Albert Lea, and one charge of second-degree attempted murder related to his wife, Paw Pree, 40, of St. Paul.

He pleaded not guilty to both counts during a hearing in December.

Court documents state Ber allegedly stabbed Lye after accusing him of cheating with his wife. After stabbing Lye, Ber allegedly turned on his wife.

Lye suffered “a very deep and wide laceration” to his neck, along with stab wounds to his stomach and chest, according to court documents. He died at the scene.

Pree was also reportedly stabbed numerous times, including several times in the eyes. She is now blind in both eyes.

The incident reportedly took place in an apartment in St. Paul’s North End neighborhood. Ber and Pree’s children witnessed a majority of the incident.

Ber is being held in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.

A tentative jury trial date has been scheduled for Aug. 20.