Moody Found Not Competent to Stand Trial

By: Sanika Dange Email
By: Sanika Dange Email
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A former firefighter charged with killing his girlfriend in local shopping center parking lot will not faced trial for now.

Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet ruled today that 41 year old Joseph Moody is not mentally competent to stand trial.

Psychologists for both the state and the defense say Moody is still recovering from anxiety and clinical depression.

A courtroom running on high emotions, as family and friends of the late Megan Pettis waited to hear whether her former boyfriend and alleged murderer would be found competent to stand trial.

Dr. Gregory Pritchard says, "He's facing a first degree murder charge. We need him to be at his best to understand and assist."

Police say moody has already confessed to firing several rounds into 24 year old Megan Pettis' car in a Publix parking lot in March, after the two recently broken up.

Bay County Jail personnel have had him under a suicide watch since his arrest.

Dr. Pritchard says, "He's not going to be able to concentrate, he's not going to be able to maintain focus on what happening in a courtroom for eight hours a day possibly for a couple weeks time."

Prosecutors weren't satisfied with just the mental evaluation from the Defense psychologist.

Last month, Judge Michael Overstreet appointed Dr. David Smith to evaluate Moody on behalf of the state.

Smith reluctantly agreed Moody is not ready for trial.

Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet asks, "Would you be more confident if he had an additional number of months to solidify this treatment protocol?"

State Psychologist Dr. David Smith replies, "If he had treatment that led to significant improvement in anxiety and depression, his competency level would improve."

Moody has been taking anti-depressents for the past month.

Both psychologists say they've seen improvements, but not enough for Overstreet to proceed to trial.

As Judge Overstreet put it, "His competency to proceed is at best diminimus."

Moody will spend the next few months in treatment at the Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee.

Judge Overstreet says the court will reevaluate Moody's competency after his treatment in Chattahoochee.

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