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Slater competency hearings combined

Defendant stands charged in Clarke, Frederick counties with capital murder

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

BERRYVILLE -- Justin Shane Slater will face a single hearing next month to determine his competency to stand trial on murder charges in two localities.

Slater, 24, of Buffalo Trail, Shawneeland, appeared Monday in Clarke County Circuit Court with one of his attorneys, public defender Tim Coyne. The defendant stands charged in the county with capital murder in relation to the June 10 deaths of his brother, Gregory Scott Slater Jr., and ex-girlfriend, Kayleigh Marie Plamondon, as well as a related gun charge, credit card theft and breaking and entering a home at night with the intent to commit a felony.

Coyne and Clarke County Commonwealth's Attorney Suzanne "Suni" Perka advised Judge John Wetsel Jr. that prosecutors and the defense plan to have one evidentiary hearing on Oct. 23 in Frederick County Circuit Court on whether Slater is competent to stand trial. The hearing before Judge John Prosser also will include Slater's capital murder charge in Frederick County related to the deaths of Plamondon and the defendant's brother.

Investigators discovered Slater's brother dead from a gunshot wound to the head at his home on Valley Mill Road on June 11. Authorities found Plamondon's body in a home in Lost City, W.Va., two days later. Plamondon, 22, of White Post, has been identified by investigators as Slater's ex-girlfriend.

Perka and Frederick County Commonwealth's Attorney Glenn Williamson are serving as co-prosecutors in the cases.

Members of Plamondon's family again appeared at the brief hearing.

Slater faces trial dates of Dec. 2-4 for his Frederick County charges and then Dec. 9-11 for those in Clarke County. Wetsel questioned why prosecutors and the defense counsel agreed to set trial dates so close together.

Perka explained that both sides chose the dates to comply with speedy trial requirements. Defense lawyers were not in a position at the time Prosser set the dates to have their client waive his right to a speedy trial, Coyne explained.

Defense attorneys have until Friday to file motions pertaining to their client's competency that may be heard in Frederick County Circuit Court on Oct. 2, prior to the competency hearing.

Slater also is charged in Frederick County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court with first-degree murder and a related gun crime for his brother's slaying. A preliminary hearing on these charges is set for Oct. 24.

The defendant is charged in Winchester Circuit Court with attempted escape and two counts each of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer and trying to disarm the officers. Authorities have accused Slater of trying to escape from the custody of two officers with the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center on July 3 while being treated at Winchester Medical Center.

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