An Ashley man charged with attempted murder has been ruled competent to stand trial.
Christopher M. Richardson, 26, is accused of burning his Ashley home down with his mother inside on Jan. 28 and has pleaded not guilty to one count of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony and two counts of arson, one first-degree felony and one second-degree felony in Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
A trial for Richardson had been scheduled for March 28 but on March 13 Richardson’s attorney, Donald Reeder, filed a motion suggesting that Richardson may not be competent to stand trial and Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley ordered that a competency hearing be held for Richardson.
Court records indicate that a hearing was held on April 25 and a report from Brian P. O’Reilly, a doctor at Netcare Forensic Center, was presented to Gormley.
“The Court, based upon the professional opinion of Dr. O’Reilly, finds that the defendant is capable of understanding the nature and objective of the proceedings against him and assisting counsel in his own defense,” Gormley wrote in a judgment entry on Wednesday. “The Court further found the Defendant is not intellectually disabled or mentally ill. Therefore, the Court finds [Richardson] competent to stand trial.”
Gormley then scheduled Richardson to stand trial on May 30. Gormley added that if a plea agreement is made in the case, it must be made before May 26.
Richardson was in the Delaware County Jail Thursday.
At the arraignment Gormley said Richardson faces between three to 11 years in prison for the first-degree felony charges and between two to eight years in prison for the second-degree arson charge.
Prosecutors have estimated the trial will take several days because of the complexity of the evidence that would be presented from the state fire marshal’s report.
On the morning of Jan. 28, officials received numerous calls about a house fire at 10 Vine Street, in Ashley and fire fighters were immediately dispatched. According to the 911 call, Donna Marie Richardson, Christopher’s mother, was able to leave the house before firefighters arrived, but could not locate her son and believed he was still inside.
Richardson was apprehended later that day. His bond was set at $350,000.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.
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