Man accused of killing his caretaker at Elizabethtown facility to undergo competency evaluation
Lindale Cunningham was indicted by a grand jury last Thursday.
HARDIN COUNTY, Ky. (WDRB) – Lindale Cunningham, a man accused of killing his caretaker in Elizabethtown, was arraigned in court Tuesday after being indicted by a Hardin County grand jury last week.
But before the case can move forward, the judge ordered an evaluation for competency to stand trial.
The 32-year-old is accused of stabbing his caretaker to death in the group home where he lived in Elizabethtown. The ResCare facility assists adults with developmental disabilities. Deputies with the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department said Cunningham admitted to stabbing 66-year-old Sally Berry and showed them where the murder weapon was.
In court Tuesday, Cunningham’s attorney presented Judge Kelly Easton with a report from a doctor suggesting Cunningham is not competent.
“His opinion is that Mr. Cunningham is incompetent and is unlikely to regain competency in the foreseeable future,” Jessica Schulte said.
Judge Easton said this was an issue that needed to be addressed before moving forward. He was given an order to have Cunningham evaluated by a team of doctors at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center (KCPC). Schulte argued against KCPC evaluating her client. She said Cunningham is a “vulnerable individual,” and the move could be traumatic for him.
“I’m concerned about transportation,” Schulte said. “KCPC being an unfamiliar environment.”
Prosecutor Eric Carr with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office said Cunningham will spend 30 days in the hospital for this evaluation. He will be under 24-hour observation and will undergo tests. Carr said this will provide a full and complete psychological report of Cunningham’s IQ and mental health issues.
During the arraignment, the judge also brought up criminal responsibility, which refers to a person’s sanity at the time a crime is committed. Judge Easton said that could also be addressed during the evaluation. Schulte responded that she did not want criminal responsibility addressed by KCPC. So the judge agreed the evaluation would only cover competency to stand trial.
Cunningham will remain in the Hardin County Detention Center until KCPC reserves a bed for him and transports him to the hospital, Carr said. Then everyone will meet again to review the evaluation, argue their cases and hear the judge’s decision. This is currently scheduled for 10 a.m. on May 9. But it could happen sooner, depending on when the doctors complete the evaluation.
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