NEW CUMBERLAND - Nearly a year after he is alleged to have killed his Chester girlfriend, Adam C. McCloud is scheduled to undergo a mental examination to determine if he is competent to stand trial for the woman's murder.
McCloud, 34, formerly of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, has been in the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville since his arrest in February for Sara Jean Williams' murder. Authorities found both their bodies - McCloud in a semi-conscious state - in the basement of their rented Phaeton Avenue home in Chester on Jan. 26 after responding to a report of an odor of gas coming from the house.
An autopsy later determined that Williams, 37, died as a result of strangulation and blunt force injuries to the head. McCloud was taken to East Liverpool City Hospital and was arrested upon his release about a month later. A grand jury indicted him in May on charges of murder and attempted arson - charges for which he could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
In September, McCloud's attorney, public defender F. William Brogan Jr., filed a motion asking that McCloud be examined to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial. First Judicial Circuit Judge Martin J. Gaughan approved the request.
McCloud is scheduled to be taken to Chestnut Ridge Center in Morgantown on Jan. 28 for the exam. The hospital, which provides forensic psychiatry services to judges, attorneys and local law enforcement, must submit a written report to the court after the examination. The exam is scheduled for 9 a.m.
Competency to stand trial means that McCloud has the present ability to consult with his legal counsel, that he has sufficient memory and coherence of ideas to assist in the preparation of his defense, that he has sufficient capacity to testify on his behalf if he chooses, and that he has sufficient capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings against him, according to the defense motion.
To determine whether McCloud is criminally responsible, the examination must ascertain whether he, as a result of mental disease or defect, lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law, the motion said.
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