FRONT ROYAL—In a reversal of a previous finding, a psychologist determined Fontella Fewell, 74, of Front Royal, is not competent to stand trial, extending an arson case into June of 2020.
Fewell appeared in Warren County General District Court on Tuesday before Judge W. Dale Houff where her attorney presented evidence she was deemed incompetent to stand trial. In July, a psychologist determined Fewell was competent to stand trial.
However, both the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Bryan Layton, and Fewell's attorney, Dan O’Brien, submitted a letter in September requesting Fewell's competency to be reevaluated.
According to the letter, dated Sept. 4, Layton wrote that he and O’Brien were requesting the evaluation based on O’Brien’s observations of Fewell’s behavior during the crime and previously unreported mental health issues the psychologist did not know about before the last evaluation.
Fewell faces an arson charge after a “suspicious fire” that broke out at her neighbor's house on April 23.
Court documents show that Fewell told police she set the house on fire using “matches and cigarettes” and that she was angry with the homeowner.
Fewell will stay at Western State Hospital for six months for treatment and will appear in court for review on June 9, 2020, at 1:30 p.m.