Judge Robert Morin ruled Tuesday that after nearly a year of mental health treatment Michael Davis is competent to stand trial for a series of hammer attacks that took place over three days last year, one of which resulted in the death of 66-year-old Gary Dederichs.
Dederichs was found by police in the 800 block of Emerson Street, Northwest on April 24, 2012. He had suffered a blunt force head trauma and died on the scene.
Davis, brother of NFL stars Vernon and Vontae Davis, was arrested two weeks later and initially found incompetent by the Department of Mental Health.
In that initial report, the department said that people close to Davis said he had been treated for mental health disorders, including schizophrenia. Davis said he attended a special education school.
Mental competency, most often characterized as the ability of a defendant to understand the charges against them, must be found before a defendant can be tried.
In the year since Davis was arrested, his mental health has improved through a combination of medication and intensive training. Mental health evaluators now believe that Davis is fit to continue with criminal proceedings.
“At this point, the weight of evidence is that the defendant is competent to stand trial, almost in a technical sense,” Judge Morin said Tuesday.
Morin noted, though, that Davis’ competency could change and that “extra and extraordinary” measures may be needed to maintain his health. With that in mind, Morin requested regular competency reports at 60 day intervals, and Davis will remain held at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
“The court’s intent is to take this step by step; I won’t proceed if Mr. Davis doesn’t understand,” Morin said.
After delivering his ruling, Morin arraigned Davis on first-degree murder and several assault charges; Davis pled innocent to all charges.
A status hearing is scheduled for August 30.