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Simants could be released from psychiatric care

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) A man once convicted of killing six members of a western Nebraska family should learn next month whether he can leave the state psychiatric hospital.

Erwin Simants was found guilty of killing the six in 1975 outside Sutherland. The decision was overturned on appeal. Simants later was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to the Lincoln Regional Center, where he's been held.

A Lincoln County judge is reviewing evidence presented at a recent hearing. He's expected to rule Oct. 24 on Simants' bid for freedom.

Robert Lindemeier is Simants' attorney, and he says four doctors and a treatment team have examined the 67-year-old Simants and have concluded that he's no longer mentally ill. Lindemeier says that means that, under Nebraska law, Simants is entitled to be released.

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