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Defendant ruled incompetent to stand trial in 2006 murder

BROOKSVILLE — A Hernando judge ruled Thursday that a 32-year-old Brooksville man facing the death penalty is incompetent to stand trial for murder.

Joshua Langley is accused of fatally shooting his alleged criminal associate and friend, Jac'Quez Jones, during a dispute Dec. 4, 2006.

He is charged with first-degree murder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The trial was scheduled to start in October but was delayed at the 11th hour when Langley's court-appointed attorney, Candace Hawthorne of Tavares, questioned her client's competency.

Circuit Judge Jack Springstead ordered evaluations from three mental health experts — one selected by the defense, one by the prosecution and one chosen jointly.

Hawthorne argued that her client "is seriously ill" and took antipsychotic drugs.

After hearing the arguments and reviewing the reports, Springstead decided Langley that "is not competent to proceed to trial at this time."

The judge temporarily sealed the mental evaluations but found that two of the three doctors expressed reservations about Langley's mental status.

Langley will now go to a forensic care facility managed by the state's Department of Children and Families to undergo treatment to rehabilitate him to a level where he is able to facilitate in his defense and understand the severity of his charges.

The trial is postponed indefinitely until he is deemed competent by mental health experts.

A formal review will take place in six months.

John Frank can be reached at jfrank@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6114.

Defendant ruled incompetent to stand trial in 2006 murder 11/20/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 21, 2008 7:30pm]
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