Court upholds ruling in capital murder appeal

A Grenada County man has once again lost an attempt to have his capital murder conviction thrown out because he was not given a competency hearing.

Posted: Oct. 21, 2017 3:06 PM
Updated: Oct. 21, 2017 3:06 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (WTVA) -- A Grenada County man has once again lost an attempt to have his capital murder conviction thrown out because he was not given a competency hearing.

Terry Pitchford, 32, is on death row for the 2004 shooting death of Rueben Britt at the Crossroads Store in Grenada County.

Britt was shot with more than one weapon during an armed robbery.

Evidence collected at the scene led to his arrest and police say he confessed to being at the store when Britt was shot, but he shot into the floor of the store, not at Britt.

Pitchford filed a motion claiming he should have had a competency hearing to determine if he understood what was going on during the criminal proceedings.

The trial judge reviewed findings from the state mental health examiners and determined he was able to stand trial.

He told the defense it was sufficient and an independent evaluation requested by the defense was not needed.

Pitchford was convicted and sentenced to death in 2006.

The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld his conviction, but in 2015 granted a motion for a competency hearing in the trial court.

At the hearing, Pitchford presented witnesses, including mental health experts, but the judge stated none raised any question about whether he failed to understand the criminal proceedings and was not communicating with his attorneys.

On Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the judge's decision.

 

Article Comments

Tupelo
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Columbus
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather