A man accused of fatally stabbing a co-worker at a Prestage Farms pork plant in Eagle Grove, Iowa, was found incompetent to stand trial.
The fatal incident occurred on February 16.
The suspect, Lukouxs Brown, 26, was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Wayne Smith, 50. Smith was found dead in an employee locker room at the plant. He died after apparently being stabbed in the throat.
According to a report from the Des Moines Register, Wright County Judge Gregg Rosenbladt ruled on April 16 that Brown is suffering from a mental disorder that prevents him from understanding the charges against him, the court proceedings or being able to assist in his own defense.
Brown is being sent to the Iowa Medical Classification Center in Coralville in an effort to restore his competency.
Both Brown and Smith were identified as Prestage Farms employees who were residents of Fort Dodge, Iowa.
Prestage Farms announced its plans to build the pork plant in Eagle Grove in 2016 and it began production in 2019. As the construction of the $325 million plant neared completion in December 2018, the company was the recipient of the “Outstanding Business of the Year” Iowa Venture Award, presented by the Iowa Area Development Group at the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting.
At the time, it was reported that the plant was expected employ nearly 1,000 workers and produce 600 million pounds of pork processed per year, 45 percent of which was expected to other facilities for further processing; 25 to 30 percent was to be sold in the international marketplace, while grocery chains, stores, and meat retailers would sell the remainder.
In addition to being a major pork producer, Prestage Farms, headquartered in Clinton, North Carolina, is also one of the country’s largest turkey producers. According to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, Prestage Farms slaughtered 140 million pounds of live turkeys in 2020.