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*Hearing slated Oct. 23 on Slater's mental competence

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

(11:35 a.m.) WINCHESTER -- Attorneys will try next month to prove Justin Shane Slater incompetent to stand trial for the June 10 murders of his brother and ex-girlfriend.

Slater, 24, of Buffalo Trail, Shawneeland, appeared Friday in Frederick County Circuit Court with his legal counsel, public defender Tim Coyne and former capital defense attorney Joseph Flood.

Slater stands charged in Frederick County with one count of capital murder of two or more people within three years involving the deaths of his brother, Gregory Scott Slater Jr. and ex-girlfriend Kayleigh Marie Plamondon.

Judge John Prosser scheduled an evidentiary hearing for Oct. 23 Slater's attorneys to argue that their client is mentally incompetent to stand trial. Prosecutors also will have the chance to rebut their claims. Coyne told Prosser a doctor assigned to evaluate Slater's mental health determined the defendant incompetent to stand trial.

Prior to that date, Slater's attorneys will have the chance on Oct. 2 to present and argue motions related to the evidentiary hearing.

Also on Friday, Slater appeared with his attorneys in Winchester Circuit Court where he stands charged with attempted escape, two counts of attempting to disarm officers with the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center and two counts of assaulting the jailers.

Coyne and Flood asked Judge John E. Wetsel Jr. to allow Slater's competency hearings for his charges in the city and in Clarke County to be consolidated and presided over by Prosser. Wetsel said he did not object.

Clarke County authorities have charged Slater with capital murder of two people in three years -- pertaining to the deaths of Plamondon and Gregory Slater -- as well as use of a firearm in commission of the offense, credit card theft and breaking and entering of a home at night with the intent to commit murder.

Flood and Coyne then asked Wetsel to reverse his decision to allow the media to videotape or take photographs of Slater when he appears in court. The defense argued that showing Slater in shackles and a jail uniform, either on television or in print, could jeopardize their client's right to a fair trial, were the images seen by potential jurors.

Winchester Commonwealth's Attorney Alex R. Iden told the judge he didn't object to allowing video or still photography in the court during Slater's proceedings.

Wetsel granted the defense attorneys' request to bar cameras in the courtroom except during Slater's trial -- if and when it comes to that point.

For further developments, visit nvdaily.com or read the print edition of The Northern Virginia Daily.

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