LARGO — Two experts have determined that Shelby Nealy, who is accused of killing his ex-wife and three of her family members, is competent to stand trial, attorneys for the state and defense said in court Monday.
But Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone will hear testimony from both of them at a hearing Oct. 5 before ruling on whether Nealy’s mental health is sound enough to move forward with the case.
That was at the request of Nealy’s attorneys, who said during Monday’s hearing that they remain concerned about Nealy’s competency as it relates to the death penalty, which he faces in three of the four murders he’s accused of committing.
“Since this is a death penalty case, I have ongoing concerns,” Pinellas-Pasco Assistant Public Defender Maria DeLiberato told Bulone.
Nealy’s defense attorneys first raised the issue of his competency in April, writing in a motion that his mental condition had deteriorated to the point where he had “irrational beliefs regarding trial strategies” and was “insisting upon strategies adverse to his interest.” He had been placed in psychiatric isolation and had to be persuaded to take his medication, the motion says.
Nealy, 27, stands accused of killing his ex-wife, 21-year-old Jamie Ivancic, in January 2018 and burying her at their Port Richey home. For months, he pretended she was alive by sending text messages and photos of their two young children to her family members.
But when Ivancic’s family grew suspicious of her whereabouts, police said, Nealy traveled to Tarpon Springs in December 2018 and killed her father, Richard Ivancic, 71; mother, Laura Ivancic, 59; and brother Nicholas Ivancic, 25.
Nealy then fled to Ohio with his two children. Police tracked him down there and arrested him in January 2019, then extradited him back to Florida a month later.
The murder of Jamie Ivancic will be tried separately in Pasco County from the murders of her family members in Pinellas County. Nealy doesn’t face the death penalty in his ex-wife’s murder. The trial in that case was set for August but has been postponed to a later date. The trial in the family member slayings was set for October, but, at Monday’s hearing, it was also postponed.
Nealy pleaded not guilty to all counts, although in June 2019 his defense team tried to strike a deal with the state in which he would plead guilty to all four counts in exchange for four consecutive life sentences. Prosecutors rejected the deal.
Nealy appeared via video in court Monday from jail. He did not speak during the hearing.