MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - The trial for a 22-year-old man accused of killing his stepmother last year might be delayed because the findings of a mental evaluation have yet to be shared with the state.
Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela J. Games-Neely filed a motion Friday to continue the trial of Thomas A. Dawson, and she said Monday that she still had not received a copy of a physician's report.
Jeannette Dawson, 41, of 345 Blair St., Berkeley Village subdivision, was found dead at her home Aug. 30, 2006, after firefighters responded to a report of a fire. Police said the fire was intentionally set after she was attacked and had interfered in her stepson's alleged robbery of the residence. Dawson was arrested in September and indicted by a grand jury in February on counts of first-degree murder, felony murder, burglary and first- degree arson.
"Because the state does not know the findings and opinion of Dr. (Joseph R.) Novello, it cannot determine if the state needs to arrange its own evaluation of the defendant," Games-Neely said in her motion, which was filed seven days before the pretrial hearing set for Friday. The trial is scheduled to begin May 30.