Judge grants funds for psychological expert in murder case
FRONT ROYAL — Circuit Judge Ronald L. Napier granted a defense motion on Tuesday for funding to hire a psychological expert who will analyze the evidence in the case against a Front Royal man accused in the March shooting death of his stepfather.
David Glynn Hoyle, 33, was indicted in early July on first-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony charges. His attorney, Public Defender Tim Coyne, already noted at that hearing that he would be asking for a psychological expert.
On Tuesday, Coyne argued that Hoyle’s mental state is a “significant factor” in his defense, but that there needs to be an evaluation of more than just Hoyle’s mental state at the time of the offense, which was already done at Western State Hospital.
Coyne argued that the significant amount of evidence in this case — which includes officer body camera recordings, interviews when Hoyle was arrested and over 100 pages of Hoyle’s writings collected at the scene, among others — would take a great deal of billable hours from a qualified psychological expert, and the funding limited by the Virginia statute would not be enough.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Anna Hammond argued that the defense is not entitled to funds to hire an expert for the mitigation of a sentence. She cited Virginia cases where similar funds were not granted even in capital crimes. Coyne argued that they know they are not entitled to it, but that does not mean that the court could not grant it.
“We’re asking for the funds to present the defense that Mr. Hoyle is entitled to,” Coyne said.
Napier granted the defense’s request for $7,500, as well as any additional “reasonable expenses” necessary under terms of the court order Coyne prepared. The next hearing in this case is scheduled for Sept. 11 in Warren County Circuit Court.