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Trial date set for woman accused of shooting estranged husband

May 11, 2010|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
  • Maria Lynn Decicio-Smith
Police photo,

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- A woman accused of shooting her estranged husband to death in September 2007 has been deemed competent to stand trial after receiving treatment at a state psychiatric hospital.

Maria Decicio-Smith, 37, of Martinsburg is scheduled to stand trial beginning Oct. 26.

Decicio-Smith was indicted in May 2008 on one count of first-degree murder. Police allege she shot Richard E. Amundson five times. He was found face down in the basement of Decicio-Smith's home at 210 Gussie Ave. with a rotisserie fork near his left hand, police have said.

Last fall, presiding 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Christopher C. Wilkes remanded Decicio-Smith to William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital in Weston, W.Va., for treatment after she was found at least temporarily incompetent by state experts.

At that time, Decicio-Smith was found to have serious depression, an anxiety condition and other factors, which inhibited her from assisting her attorney in her trial, officials had said.

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"Now she's been restored to competency, so we can try her," Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney Pamela Jean Games-Neely said Monday after a hearing on the status of the case.

After the shooting, police found Decicio-Smith sobbing and murmuring to herself in the living room, investigators have said. She was pointing a revolver, with the hammer cocked, to the side of her head and staring straight ahead.

Wilkes ruled in December 2007 that it appeared Decicio-Smith was attempting to avoid her estranged husband when she moved from Casper, Wyo., to Berkeley County, closer to family members, and allowed her the opportunity to be on home confinement pending trial.

Decicio-Smith has been on home confinement since January 2008 and Games-Neely said on Monday that the defendant has complied with the terms of her release since then.

Decicio-Smith's trial has been rescheduled multiple times since she was arraigned in circuit court.

The new trial date set on Monday could not be scheduled earlier because of other trials for cases on which Games-Neely is working.

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