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Hearing on Pa. murder defendant's competency closed to public

October 02, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — A forensic pathologist offered testimony Tuesday as a Franklin County (Pa.) Court of Common Pleas judge assesses whether a man accused of killing his mother is mentally competent to stand trial this December.

Marcus Wallace, 41, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, burglary, criminal trespass, criminal mischief, attempted criminal homicide and aggravated assault.

Prosecutors, who are seeking the death penalty, say Wallace attacked his mother, Consuella Wallace, in her Hamilton Township, Pa., home Dec. 10, 2009. She died from her injuries in February 2010.

Among Consuella Wallace’s injuries was a depressed skull fracture, investigators said.

On Tuesday, court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Clarence Watson offered testimony about his Sept. 20 evaluation of Wallace.

Watson, of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., said prior to the evaluation he received records from the criminal case, the evaluations conducted by other mental health experts, transcripts of court hearings and motions filed by the defendant on his own behalf.

Watson said he and Wallace discussed Wallace’s upbringing, education, occupational history and medical history. He said Wallace asked questions about the purpose of his visit.

When Watson’s testimony turned to the discussions about Wallace’s relationship with his parents, the defense attorneys asked that the competency hearing be closed to the public. Judge Richard Walsh granted that motion.

Walsh appointed Watson to work independently of the defense and prosecution.

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