Second psychiatric exam planned for defendant

WOODSTOCK — A Fort Valley man charged with voluntary manslaughter in a shooting death at his home will undergo a psychiatric examination to determine whether mental illness could be a factor in his defense.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp ordered Wednesday that up to $4,000 be made available to hire a psychiatrist to evaluate the defendant, Daniel Scott Harvey.

Authorities accuse Harvey, 33, of 600 Stephens Lane, of shooting Harry Grant Nelson III, 36, at Harvey’s home in March.

The exam will be the second psychiatric evaluation Harvey has undergone since his arrest.

Harvey’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Peter McDermott, told Hupp he had received the results of the initial exam and concluded that its findings would not support a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

But McDermott said his client had a history of mental disorders that may “mitigate” the prosecution’s evidence against him and cast Harvey’s actions in a less unfavorable light. McDermott said members of his agency’s staff had combed through some of Harvey’s psychiatric history, but they needed a deeper analysis performed by an expert.

“Mr. Harvey has serious personality issues, serious psychological issues that we feel need to be fleshed out,” McDermott said, adding, “I think we’ve reached the end of what non-experts can do in this case.”

Hupp scheduled another hearing on the results of the next psychiatric evaluation for Feb. 11.

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