MARIETTA - More competency testing was ordered Monday for alleged murderer Mark F. Stevens after the first report found him to be competent to stand trial.
Stevens, 48, of 285 Bells Run Road, Newport Township, is accused of the 2008 shooting and killing of his neighbor, Patrick Arnold. He was arrested in August after recorded conversations with an confidential informant connected him to the crime scene.
Stevens was initially ordered on Aug. 13 to undergo competency and insanity evaluations.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Mark Stevens, accused of murdering his neighbor four years ago, appeared in Washington County Common Pleas Court on Monday and was ordered to undergo more competency testing before he can be made to stand trial for the crime. Also pictured is defense attorney Shawna Landaker.
A hearing Monday in Washington County Common Pleas Court was to review the initial competency testing, performed by Forensic Diagnostic Center Of District 9, which oversees Washington County as well as most of southeastern Ohio, said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.
"I would suggest the court accept the report," said Schneider during Monday's hearing.
The initial report, compiled by psychologist Dr. Denise Kohler, found Stevens competent to stand trial, said Schneider.
"I understand the defense council may wish to have additional studies done," continued Schneider.
Defense attorney Shawna Landaker, who was filling in for Steven's attorney, Ray Smith, requested that the Public Defender's Office be allowed to perform their own testing.
"The defense is asking the court to grant us some time to obtain our own experts to evaluate the defendant," said Landaker.
Acting Judge Julie Selmon of Monroe County Common Pleas Court asked for clarification as to who would set up and pay for the additional testing. Selmon is acting in place of Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Susan Boyer, who cited a conflict of interest in the case. Boyer had worked with a relative of the victim on a Mid-Ohio Valley Players Theatre production.
"We do have expert witness fees available to us," said Landaker.
Schneider said he had no objection to additional testing, but asked that the testing be performed at the Washington County Jail and that the bond remain the same.
Selmon agreed to allow the additional testing and did not change Steven's $500,000 bond.
"I will allow you leave to get those secondary or subsequent reports and evaluations set up at the earliest convenience," said Selmon.
At Monday's hearing, Schneider also requested an extension for the state to supplement the discovery report. The discovery is the process by which each party learns what evidence and information the other party has available.
The state prosecutor's discovery report was ready by the Sept. 21 due date, but new information was just received, said Schneider.
"Last week, the sheriff's department sent a three-inch thick folder worth of material," said Schneider.
He requested until Oct. 12 to sift through the new information and supplement the discovery, which Selmon granted.
Selmon scheduled a hearing Nov. 16 at 9 a.m. to hear the additional reports and evaluations compiled by the defense's evaluators.