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Forced medication approved for wildfire suspect, lawyers say

Jesper Joergensen

DENVER – A judge has approved the forced medication of a mentally ill Danish man accused of starting a wildfire that burned 149 homes in Colorado in 2018, lawyers said Wednesday.

The development was revealed during a court hearing for Jesper Joergensen in which one of his lawyers objected to the decision by a judge in a separate proceeding in Pueblo.

An order allowing Joergensen to be forcibly medicated for six months was issued at a hearing on Aug. 31 without any notice to the defense, attorney Jane Fisher-Byrialsen said. She said she planned to appeal it.

Aaron Pratt with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office said notice of the hearing was mailed to Joergensen’s other lawyer, David Lipka, but Lipka said he did not receive it.

Joergensen has repeatedly been found incompetent to go on trial for allegedly starting the Spring Creek Fire after being diagnosed with delusional disorder. His lawyers have said he has refused to take medication to treat his condition because his delusions make him believe he is well and does not need them.

Joergensen was moved in June to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo, where a psychiatrist recently recommended that he be forcibly medicated.