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Mental evaluation granted for man charged in homicide

April 21, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- A Franklin County judge on Wednesday granted a petition calling for a mental health evaluation of the man charged in the death of a woman whose body was found April 6 in a wooded area off East Ninth Street in Waynesboro, Pa.

Judge Douglas Herman granted the request by public defender Michael Toms for the evaluation of Jeffrey Eldon Miles Sr., 47, of State Line, Pa.

Miles is charged with criminal homicide in the death of Kristy Dawn Hoke, 29, of Hagerstown.

Herman explained to Miles that the evaluation will serve two main purposes -- first, whether the psychiatrist feels Miles has a medical or mental disability that would interfere with him participating in his own defense, and secondly, whether any disability would have interfered with the intent to commit criminal homicide.

Miles' preliminary hearing scheduled for April 14 was delayed based on the petition for psychiatric evaluation. Herman's order included a provision that prosecution would be postponed until after the mental health evaluation is completed.

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Miles, with his hands and ankles restrained and wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit, entered the courtroom 15 minutes before the 3 p.m. hearing Wednesday. He consulted with Toms for 10 minutes before Herman entered.

Herman initially questioned a portion of the petition that indicated Miles might not agree to be analyzed. Toms responded that he was unsure of Miles' willingness at the time he wrote the petition.

"He has now indicated to me he is agreeable to being examined by a psychiatrist," Toms said.

Herman asked Miles whether he would submit to the evaluation, to which Miles answered, "Yes, I will."

Herman questioned how many times Miles and Toms had spoken. Miles said they talked three or four times.

"Do you want to read this petition he's filed on (your) behalf?" Herman asked.

"No," Miles said, saying Toms told him what was contained in the petition.

Toms said the evaluation should be granted based on the circumstances under which Miles was taken into custody April 6. Pennsylvania State Police wrote in an affidavit of probable cause that Miles was threatening to jump off an Interstate 81 bridge, saying he wanted to commit suicide because of "the evil and demons inside of him."

"I think (the circumstances) speak for themselves for someone who needs a mental evaluation," Toms said.

Herman asked Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Eric R. Augustine whether he had any comments or objections to the petition being granted. Augustine said he didn't.

Also included in the psychiatrist's evaluation will be an opinion on the probability that any condition, if found, could be treated to the point where Miles would be competent for court proceedings, Herman said.

Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Tom Pinkerton said Wednesday he had no new information to release concerning the Hoke case or the death of Angie Daley. Police said information gathered during the Hoke investigation led them to Daley's remains on a farm between Waynesboro and Greencastle, Pa.

No one has been charged in the death of Daley, who was reported missing in Waynesboro in 1995.

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