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The first-degree murder trial of a Fairbank man has been pushed back so that the state can complete its investigation into the mental state of the defendant.

District Court Judge Chris Foy issued a continuance order for proceedings in the case against Daniel Gail Niebuhr, 59, who is accused of shooting and killing his son, Brock, 36, of Dike, in the defendant’s home on March 22. Previously scheduled for Tuesday, the trial has been postponed to 9 a.m. April 21 in the Bremer County Courthouse, with a pre-trial conference at 10:30 a.m. April 6.

On Dec. 16, Niebuhr’s attorney, Chad Frese, of the Kaplan and Frese law firm in Marshalltown, had filed an affirmative defense notice for insanity and diminished capacity. Frese offered the testimony of expert witness Terry Davis, M.D., of Omaha, Nebraska, to provide support for the defendant’s claim.

Bremer County Attorney Kasey Wadding, on behalf of the State of Iowa, filed a continuance motion on Jan. 24, stating that the state is still in the discovery phase of investigating Niebuhr’s claim.

Back on June 17, Judge DeDra Schroeder had cleared Niebuhr as competent to stand trial.

According to court filings, the state is consulting with Dr. Veronica Lestina, a licensed clinical psychologist and mental health counselor in Fort Madison, to provide a mental evaluation of the defendant. The exam was originally scheduled for Jan. 28.

Additionally, Niebuhr is facing a wrongful death suit filed by his daughter-in-law, Lauren. Trial is set for that case at 9 a.m. Sept. 1.