Ohio man charged with killing sisters ruled incompetent by judge

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 17, 2015 4:35 PM

By Kim Palmer

(Reuters) - An Ohio man charged with fatally shooting his two teenage sisters and critically wounding a family friend must be hospitalized and undergo psychological testing after a judge ruled on Tuesday he did not understand the charges against him.

Matthew Hayden, 22, was charged on Monday in Cincinnati with two counts of aggravated murder and one of attempted murder and pleaded not guilty, a court document said.

Hamilton County Court Judge Josh Berkowitz set bond at $6 million for Hayden for the Oct. 21 shootings of Sarah Hayden, 16, and Elizabeth Hayden, 17, according to the document.

Defense attorney Bernard Mundy had requested an emergency competency evaluation for Hayden at his arraignment, said Julie Wilson, a Hamilton County assistant prosecutor.

Hayden shot his sisters and a third teenager with a 9 mm Beretta handgun as they sat inside a minivan at the family's home in Colerain Township, a Cincinnati suburb, prosecutors said. Both girls were pronounced dead at the scene. Seventeen-year-old Joshua Hacker was shot 10 times and is recovering at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Berkowitz found Hayden incompetent and ordered him hospitalized at Summit Behavioral Health Care Hospital in Cincinnati for six months in an effort to restore competency, meaning the ability to understand the charges and stand trial, Wilson said.

His next court date is scheduled for May 11, but that could be moved to an earlier time if the hospital feels he is restored to competency, Wilson said.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer in Cleveland; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Peter Cooney)