Trial set for Burrell

Man charged with attempted murder of officer

By Joe Beck

Clyde Eugene Burrell Jr. will stand trial on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29 on charges of attempted capital murder of a law enforcement officer and several related offenses, a Warren County Circuit judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge Dennis L. Hupp set the trial dates at a hearing in which he also granted a defense motion that will allow up to $3,000 for a mental evaluation to be performed on Burrell.
Public defender Timothy Coyne said he wanted a report on Burrell’s mental health to be available for consideration at any sentencing hearing that would be held should his client be found guilty.

Burrell also appeared in connection with a separate set of charges involving another law enforcement officer he is accused of sending to the hospital for treatment of injuries.

Burrell was indicted Monday in Warren County Circuit Court on suspicion of maliciously wounding Warren County Deputy Thomas Ratigan in the jail on March 30. Burrell also faces a charge of felony assault and battery on a law enforcement officer in the same alleged incident.

Hupp scheduled Burrell’s next court appearance on the newest charges for Aug. 5.

Burrell appeared in the courtroom shackled and handcuffed with three bailiffs standing directly behind where he was seated. Burrell was calm throughout the hearing and led away without incident. He remains held without bond in Northwest Regional Adult Detention Center in Winchester where he was transferred after the alleged attack on Ratigan.

Burrell, 34, is accused of injuring three law enforcement officers in less than a year during two separate incidents. All three victims required hospital treatment.

In the first case, Front Royal police accuse Burrell of seizing a baton from Sgt. Bryan Courtney on July 28 as the two fought on North Shenandoah Avenue. Court records say Courtney stopped Burrell for questioning in connection with a report of a man in the area exposing himself.

Authorities accuse Burrell of hitting Courtney repeatedly with the baton until Detective Jason Lethcoe arrived and managed to bring him under control with the help of a passerby. Lethcoe and Courtney were both hospitalized, and Courtney’s injuries prevented him from working until late February.

In the second incident, authorities say Burrell hit Ratigan in the face after the deputy ordered him out of his cell. The blow broke Ratigan’s jaw and nose, according to sheriff’s office reports.

Public Defender Timothy Coyne said at Tuesday’s hearing he is not planning to raise an insanity defense for Burrell at the trial. Instead, Coyne said, he wanted the mental health report to be available for “mitigation” of any sentence his client might receive should he be found guilty.

“At this point, it’s not a sanity plea, it’s a question of mitigation,” Coyne said.

Coyne said the evaluation will be conducted by Bernard Lewis, a licensed clinical psychologist from Winchester.