PARKERSBURG - A hearing on Wednesday to determine how long a Vienna man accused of killing his wife will be held in a mental facility or if his indictment for murder should be dismissed ended with an order to keep him in custody while the court considers the evidence.
Judge Jeffrey Reed ordered John N. Ralsten, 74, charged with killing his wife, Carol Ralsten, on April 8, 2011, to remain in custody.
In August, Ralsten was found to be incompetent to stand trial after a forensic evaluation from Sharpe Hospital where he remains. According to court records, the court was informed it is not likely Ralsten will be able to attain competency in the future.
Wednesday's hearing was to determine what the sentencing would have been if Ralsten was convicted. Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jodi Boylen said Ralsten's attorney George Cosenza does not have a defense other than making the state meet its burden.
Cosenza said a hearing is needed for the court to determine if there is enough evidence for Ralsten to be convicted.
Boylen said it is the court's discretion on whether a hearing will be held or review the discovery in the case along with the grand jury transcripts.
Reed directed the state send him the discovery and transcripts and also send a copy of everything to Cosenza.
Cosenza made a motion for a copy of what will be sent to the judge to determine if any changes have been made compared to the discovery he has been provided.
Under state law if the defense is going to provide a defense other than mental illness, a petition must be filed supported by an affidavit or other evidence to have a trial on the merits and the court may grant a request where the evidence of both sides may be heard by the court of record without a jury.
Ralsten was arrested following a six-hour standoff with police at his Vienna home. His wife was shot twice and suffered a severe head wound, officials said.