Is a man accused of murder competent to stand trial?

On behalf of Dickman Law Offices, P.S.C. posted in Criminal Defense on Tuesday, April 17, 2012

In the United States, it is unconstitutional to make anyone who is determined to be mentally incompetent stand trial. A person must understand the charges against them and be able to contribute to their defense. Recently, a competency hearing was held in a Kenton County courtroom to determine if a man who is charged with murder is competent to stand trial.

The 48-year-old man was charged with murder after allegedly killing a 54-year-old man that he was staying with. According to reports, the two men met at Alcoholics Anonymous. The 48-year-old man was staying with the 54-year-old man after he was kicked out of a drug and alcohol treatment program.

Police claim that the 48-year-old man had been drinking when the man he was staying with ordered him to leave. Police say the 48-year-old beat the other man to death with an aluminum bat and table leg.

The 48-year-old man was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in October. A state psychiatrist recently testified that the 48-year-old thinks the man he is accused of killing is still alive because he visits him in jail.

A judge has not ruled yet whether the man is competent to stand trial. Prosecutors are urging the judge to find the man competent. However, a public defender has argued that the man is not capable of participating in his own defense.

It is not clear how this specific case will turn out. However, if a person is found to be incompetent, they may be committed to a psychiatric facility where they will receive treatment until they are found competent to stand trial.

Source:, “Accused murderer believes victim isn’t dead,” Jim Hannah, April 16, 2012

Posted in: Criminal Defense