An 11-year-old northeast Ohio boy isn't mentally fit to be tried for murder in the shooting death of his mother at their rural home, a judge ruled.
Holmes County Prosecutor Steve Knowling said the next step will be determining where the boy will be placed until he becomes competent, according to The (Canton) Repository ( http://bit.ly/ndbvQT). If he doesn't become competent within a year, the charges could be dismissed and re-filed later.
The boy was 10 years old on Jan. 2 when he allegedly shot his 46-year-old mother in the head with a rifle at their home in Big Prairie. An uncle has said the boy had "anger issues" and had argued with his mother about carrying firewood before the shooting.
Defense attorney Andrew Hyde said he's disappointed by the ruling Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Lee issued Tuesday, because the boy is too young to understand the legal case.
"When we talk to him about what's going on in court, his next question is about a video game," Hyde said Wednesday. "He's too young to appreciate the seriousness of what he's facing."
The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles accused of crimes. The boy has entered the equivalent of a not guilty plea.
Two psychologists who met with the boy determined that he's not competent for trial but disagreed on whether he could attain competency within a year, Hyde said. The judge plans a hearing on where the boy should be placed, Hyde said.
The boy doodled on a notepad during about six hours of testimony in his case last month. He has anxiety, difficulty reading and writing and other concerns that hinder his ability to aid in his defense, Hyde said.
Authorities said they found four weapons in the boy's bedroom, including the .22-caliber rifle believed to have been used in his mother's killing.
Information from: The Repository, http://www.cantonrep.com