Mental evaluation ordered for man accused of killing PV couple

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
Michael Crane By Jennifer Thomas Michael Crane By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A Maricopa County commissioner has ordered a psychological evaluation for the Mesa man accused of murdering a prominent Paradise Valley couple and a cigar shop owner.

Michael Crane, 31, was arraigned Monday morning, nearly a week after he was first scheduled to appear in court.

Last Tuesday, Crane refused to leave his jail cell, prompting Commissioner Brian Rees to reschedule the proceeding and order the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office to get him to court "by any reasonable means necessary."

Escorted by five heavily armed deputies, Rees, with both wrists and ankles shackled, did appear in court Monday morning to be arraigned.

The only question Crane had was why his name was capitalized on the court paperwork. When asked to spell his name for the record, he specified upper and lowercase.

At one point during the proceeding, when the commissioner asked Crane if he had any questions about his Constitutional rights as they had been presented, Crane asked, "That's all there are?" punctuation the question with a laugh.

He stood quietly in between his lawyers for the rest of the hearing, hands clasped as if mimicking a gun .
(Watch video of Crane's arraignment)

Crane faces 15 criminal counts, including charges of three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Lawrence and Glenna Shapiro and cigar shop owner Bruce Gaudet.

In both cases, the victims were robbed and their homes set on fire.

The Shapiros were found dead in the Paradise Valley home on Jan. 30 after police found their car burning behind a strip mall about 30 miles away.

Four days earlier, Gaudet's bullet-riddled body was found in the burned ruins of his Central Phoenix condo.

Five other people were arrested in connection with the Shapiro and Gaudet cases. Those individuals were charged with theft, trafficking in stolen goods and hindering prosecution.

Crane is the only one of the group charged with murder. He pleaded not guilty to all counts.

After the charges were read and Crane entered his plea, the commissioner ordered Crane undergo mental evaluation.

At this point, no other court dates have been scheduled . The results of the mental evaluation, which is meant to determine if Crane is competent to stand trial, will dictate what happens next.

Such mental evaluations are required when there is the possibility of the death penalty.

Michael Crane's arraignment