Deal found competent to stand trial for murder

By Megan Spicer
Fauquier Times

Judy Kay Deal was found to be competent but the matter of where she will remain until her murder trial in late August has yet to be determined.

Deal allegedly shot her estranged husband, John M. Deal, 60, in the torso at his home on Crest Hill Road on Nov. 20, 2011, according to a search warrant. The shot came after a heated argument between the two.

Deal then allegedly turned the gun on herself, shooting herself in the head.

“We don’t want to take this victory today and then a month from now, have a doctor say ‘We’ve had a regression in competency,’” said the Fauquier Commonwealth’s Attorney James Fisher at a hearing Wednesday morning.

She is currently staying at Western State Hospital and has undergone eight competency evaluations in the three and a half years since she allegedly killed her husband.

There was concern from both sides that Deal would suffer in the traditional prison setting.

Blaire Howard, who is defending Deal, told Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Parker that Deal has exhibited signs of paranoia, sadness and anxiety while at Western State Hospital.

Howard said that if Deal was in a jail environment, that there would “be a high likelihood that she will try to end her life.”

Western State Hospital has indicated that they are “ready to close the case” on Deal, according to Fisher.

A bond hearing was scheduled for yesterday (Wednesday, May 9) to determine if Deal could voluntarily commit herself to a psychiatric hospital. Other options will be explored as well.

As part of an April 23 motion, the prosecution argued that there is evidence to suggest that Deal had doctored her answers on neuropsychological evaluations to appear incompetent and would therefore avoid prosecution.

The motion cites an incident where Deal consulted with and discussed her late husband’s estate with a social worker and made the decision to remove herself from the assets so the estate would be settled in favor of her children.

A three-day jury trial was set for Thursday, August 20.

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