CHELSEA, Vt. (AP) — A 70-year-old man accused of fatally shooting his daughter when she came to visit his home with cookies has been found competent to stand trial, even though he maintains delusional and paranoid thoughts.
James D. Perry Jr. appeared at a Orange Superior Court in Chelsea on Wednesday for a brief competency hearing after requesting to attend in-person because he has difficulty hearing, the Valley News reported.
Perry has been charged with second-degree murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment for allegedly shooting his daughter, Karina Rheaume, with a shotgun in May. He has pleaded not guilty.
A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation found that Perry “meets the diagnostic criteria for Delusional Disorder Persecutory Type,” which is defined by “the presence of one or more delusions lasting for longer than one month.”
Perry told police he suspected his family and friends were trying to kill him in the days before the shooting and previously told neighbors that he was directing paramilitaries or was visited by elite U.S. military units at his home.
But forensic psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Gaskins also found after interviewing Perry that he could answer questions about the charges he faced and legal procedures.
“While he continues to endorse delusional beliefs, these did not prevent him from intelligently and accurately discussing his case including the evidence likely to be used against him,” Gaskins wrote.
An attorney for Perry, Michael Shane, did not challenge the admission of the court-ordered psychiatric evaluation but said that could change.
He said the defense is seeking to have Perry evaluated by experts, but pandemic protocols had delayed access to Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, where Perry is being held without bail.
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