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Tests ordered for Reid to decide competency

July 14, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Franklin County Judge John Walker said Tuesday he will order medical tests on Albert Reid to help determine his competency to stand trial in the deaths of his estranged wife and her daughter.

In June, Reid refused to sign a consent form when taken to Chambersburg Hospital for a series of medical tests.

"Mr. Reid would not sign, or allow me to sign for him," attorney Michael J. Toms told Walker during Reid's second competency hearing.

Toms, who represents Reid in competency proceedings, said Reid told him the tests "were something he didn't want done, so why should he sign for them?"

"I would go through with the tests as long as I didn't have a needle under my skin or take anything through my mouth," Reid told Walker.

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Walker won't order blood tests, but will order an electroencephalogram to examine electrical activity in his brain, and a magnetic resonance imaging test, which provides detailed anatomical images.

Reid, 49, of Biglerville, Pa., is charged in the Dec. 27, 1996, shootings of estranged wife Carla Reid, 36, and her daughter Deidra Moore, 14, in their Hamilton Township, Pa., home.

At the time, he was awaiting trial on charges that he sexually molested Moore.

Walker found Reid competent after a May 12 hearing, but later ordered a new hearing because Toms was not told of an April examination by a court-appointed psychiatrist.

On Tuesday, Dr. Abram Hostetter interviewed Reid again. Also present were prosecution psychiatrist Dr. Robert Davis and defense psychiatrist Dr. Neil Blumberg.

"There was a significant difference in that Mr. Reid gave us a great deal more information" than in April, Hostetter said. He said Reid is competent to stand trial.

Blumberg said he still believes Reid is incompetent to stand trial, but "the exact nature of the disorder is still up in the air."

Davis said Reid, a native of Jamaica, talked more about his education and work history, but still would not talk about his family and other subjects.

"My opinion is still the same ... he is competent," Davis said.

Public Defender Robert J. Trambley said the test results and psychiatric reports will be submitted to Walker. The judge must determine if Reid is capable of assisting in his own defense.

A ruling of incompetency is different that one of insanity, a state in which a person may commit a crime, but not be legally responsible due to mental illness.

Reid's trial was set for Sept. 21, but Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said a scheduling problem will delay the trial until at least Oct. 5.

If convicted of first-degree murder, a defendant could face the death penalty.

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