Competency hearing set for Ashley man accused of attempted murder and arson


A hearing has been scheduled to determine if an Ashley man charged with attempted aggravated murder is 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.

A trial in Delaware County Common Pleas Court was scheduled to begin on March 28, but was delayed after Richardson’s attorney, Donald Reeder, filed a motion on March 13 suggesting that his client may not be competent to stand trial.

“Counsel has interviewed the defendant and believes that the defendant is not capable of understanding the nature of the proceedings, nor is he capable of rendering assistance in his own defense,” Reeder writes in the motion.

Reeder states that Richardson has reportedly suffered a traumatic brain injury and concerns about his mental health have been expressed to him by family members and others who know him.

Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley granted the motion and ordered that Richardson undergo a psychological examination. Gormley then scheduled a competency hearing for April 25 at 8:45 a.m.

Richardson was in the Delaware County Jail Tuesday.

At Richardson’s 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 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 has been set at $350,000.

Christopher Richardson Richardson
Facing attempted murder, arson charges

By Glenn Battishill

[email protected]

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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