Sunday, January 26, 2003

Lucasville inmate competent for trial

The Associated Press

A prison inmate is competent to stand trial a second time in the slaying of a guard during the 1993 riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, a judge ruled.

James Were, 46, will be tried on a charge of aggravated murder in the death of Robert Vallandingham, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Fred J. Cartolano ruled Friday.

He had appealed his 1995 conviction and death penalty sentence for the murder of Mr. Vallandingham, the only officer killed in the 11-day uprising at the prison in Lucasville.

The Ohio Supreme Court voted 5-2 last year to grant Mr. Were a new trial because he never received a psychiatric evaluation, in part because he refused to submit to one. Judge Cartolano found Mr. Were competent based on past statements and on the many motions Mr. Were has written.

Mr. Were is serving a 15- to 65-year sentence for aggravated robbery and felonious assault.

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