Doctors Say Gary Montgomery Competent to Stand Trial

Doctors at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, where Gary Montgomery has been held for mental evaluation since Jan. 29, have told Judge Robert Morin that Montgomery, suspected in the stabbing death 23-year-old JaParker Deoni Jones, is mentally competent to stand trial.

But Montgomery’s attorneys may push for further studies, saying that Montgomery’s reported lucid behavior with doctors has not been experienced by his attorneys.

Jones was killed Feb. 2, 2012 at a bus stop in Southeast DC.

Montgomery, 55, is charged with first-degree murder while armed. In January a forensic screening for competency was ordered by the court.

In a letter to the court received Friday, Dr. Solomon Meltzer, a forensic psychiatrist at the facility, wrote that during evaluation Montgomery demonstrated an understanding of nearly all of the specific parts of a criminal trial. He also identified the jury, defense attorney, judge and prosecutor, along with their functions.

Montgomery “repeatedly expressed understanding of the manner in which evidence can affect the outcome of a trial,” the letter said. It added Montgomery explained the reasoning behind his legal strategy “in a clear and rational way.”

The letter reported Montgomery didn’t exhibit any signs of mental illness during the interview, like hallucinating or hearing voices.

In court Friday, Montgomery’s attorney, Anthony Matthews, said the results surprised him and indicated he may push for a contested mental competency hearing.

“The lucidity the doctor observes is something we have yet to see,” Matthews told the court.

Judge Morin set a status hearing for May 9 at 9:30 a.m.

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