Matthew Caylor's Case to Continue Appeals Process

By  | 

PANAMA CITY-- Convicted murderer Matthew Caylor is on his way back to death row, where he'll likely remain for quite some time.

Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet decided today Caylor will retain his attorney and continue his appeals, after he'd requested to be executed immediately, but this ruling isn't as clear as it might seem.

Doctors pointed to Caylor's indecision over his rights as proof of his mental instability, which the court technically disputes.

Caylor told the court several months ago, he wanted to fire his lawyers, terminate his appeals process and proceed with execution.

But a few weeks later, he changed his mind. It's the second time Caylor has made this request.

That meant the court had to evaluate if he's even competent to make that decision.

That decision came Friday in a Bay County courtroom.

"Bottom line, do you want this man to represent you and to continue with these post-hearing proceedings?" Prosecutor Larry Basford asked Caylor.

"Absolutely, 100-percent," Caylor said.

Tuesday marked six years since Caylor murdered 13-year-old Melinda Hinson in the American Quality Lodge. Friday's decision means he'll likely be on death row much longer.

Under the law, Caylor is mentally competent.

"He is competent, and he will be able to retain council and move forward with all proceedings," Judge Overstreet said.

But in reality, doctors who evaluated Caylor's mental health say it's not that simple.

"Depending on what his mood is, his untreated mood, he's either going to be competent or not competent," Dr. Barry Crown said.

Prison doctors recently prescribed Prozac for Caylor, but psychologists say that might not be the proper course of treatment.

"It's not an adequate treatment for someone who has a mood disorder or someone who has a bipolar disorder," Crown said.

"I need somebody to put me on the right medication," Caylor said.

In the meantime, Caylor will go back to death row, where he'll remain on suicide watch, although he's never explicitly said he's suicidal.

"I don't understand why I'm on suicide prevention," he said in court. "I never said i wanted to kill myself or anything."

"Well, just a few weeks ago you were wanting to terminate all of these proceedings and get it over with, right?" Basford asked.

Caylor responded with a "yes."

Crown says requests to be executed are sufficient indicators.

"He wanted to end things, and he would do it by state suicide," Crown said.

The next step in the appeals process is a the state scheduling an evidentiary hearing in four to six months.

Caylor's Defense Attorney Mike Reiter will present three experts and six or seven other witnesses during that hearing.