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Newlon competency hearing on hold

December 19, 2013
By Chad Clem - Staff Writer , The Inter-Mountain

ELKINS - A competency re-evaluation hearing for an elderly Randolph County man accused of killing his wife was rescheduled in Randolph County Circuit Court Wednesday.

Theodore Newlon, 82, of Kerens, was indicted in June 2012 on one count of murder and one count of wanton endangerment. He is accused of fatally shooting his wife, 69-year-old Dora Lee Newlon, in his home in February 2012.

Appearing before Circuit Judge Jaymie Wilfong Wednesday, Newlon's attorney, James Hawkins, objected to having the hearing Wednesday. Hawkins said there has been some difficulty regarding the cooperation of Newlon and personnel at William R. Sharpe, Jr. Hospital in Weston, where Newlon is being held.

Hawkins said Newlon has not been cooperating with Sharpe's officials who have been trying to re-evaluate him. Hawkins also said hospital officials have not been cooperating with him in preparing Newlon's defense, and are not giving him specific information about Newlon's response to the re-evaluation process.

Hawkins mentioned Chapter 27 of the State Code - which defines mental illness as "a manifestation in a person of significantly impaired capacity to maintain acceptable levels of functioning in the areas of intellect, emotion and physical well-being"- as grounds for his objection.

Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Parker stated that, in his opinion, Newlon had been restored to competency and that the state was ready to proceed with prosecution.

Wilfong ordered Wednesday that Newlon must complete a full evaluation at Sharpe Hospital to determine his competency, and that the hospital officials must communicate the results of the evaluation to Hawkins, even if Newlon refused to cooperate with them.

Wilfong re-scheduled the hearing for March 7 to review Newlon's competency status with the re-evaluation results.

Last year, Newlon underwent evaluations by four mental health professionals, who testified during an evidentiary hearing at the Randolph County Courthouse in December 2012. Three of the professionals agreed that Newlon was not competent to stand trial.

Wilfong had previously ordered that Newlon be remanded to Sharpe Hospital in Weston after court-appointed neuropsychologist Dr. Bobby Miller made the preliminary finding that Newlon was not competent to stand trial.

In a hearing in June, Wilfong ruled that there was a "substantial likelihood" that Newlon could regain competency, based on the testimony of three of the same mental health professionals, and scheduled the re-evaluation hearing.

Contact Chad Clem by email at



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