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Posted January 8, 2013 | comments Leave a comment

Attempted murder defendant found competent to stand trial

By Joe Beck

A Front Royal man charged with attempted capital murder of a town police officer has been found competent to stand trial after a mental health evaluation at Central State Hospital in Petersburg.

Clyde Eugene Burrell Jr., 33, appeared in Warren County Circuit Court on Monday where the results of the mental health exam were revealed. Burrell also underwent an examination to determine whether he was sane at the time of the alleged offenses.

Commonwealth's Attorney Brian Madden said later in the day that Burrell's attorneys are under no obligation to disclose the results of the sanity evaluation with him unless they plan to raise it as a trial defense. Madden said he had received no indication as of late Monday afternoon that they planned to do so.

"He looked fine," Madden said of Burrell's appearance in court.

The attempted capital murder charge is the most serious of five charges against Burrell. The others include: malicious bodily injury to a law enforcement officer, two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer, and obstruction of justice by threat or use of force.

Burrell fought and injured two Front Royal police officers on July 28, the night he was arrested, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.

One of the officers, Sgt. Bryan Courtney, is still recovering from his injuries and has not returned to duty, Police Chief Norman Shiflett said last week.

Authorities accuse Burrell of beating Courtney's head and face with Courtney's baton during a struggle that began when the officer answered a call about a man exposing himself to passing motorists on North Shenandoah Avenue.

At one point, Burrell had Courtney pinned and repeatedly slammed his head into the pavement, according to court records. Burrell also placed Courtney in a partial headlock and raked fingers through his eyes, authorities said.

The criminal complaint states that Burrell grabbed the baton from Courtney and was about to strike him with it when Detective Jason Lethcoe arrived on the scene and tackled him.

Lethcoe managed to subdue and handcuff Burrell with the help of a passerby, according to the complaint.

Lethcoe was treated and released from Warren Memorial Hospital, but Courtney's injuries required several days of hospitalization, authorities said.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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