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The Suburbanite
  • Wayne County man's murder trial put on hold

  • The capital-murder case of Rodney R. Stutzman has been put on hold over concerns about his mental state.

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  • The capital-murder case of a Wayne County man has been put on hold over concerns about his mental state.
    Wayne County Common Pleas Judge Corey Spitler filed an order Wednesday sending Rodney R. Stutzman to a psychiatric hospital in Columbus.
    Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare is “the safer, more secure facility” than the psychologist’s recommended site, Heartland Behavioral Healthcare in Massillon, said Dan Lutz, Wayne County prosecutor.
    At a hearing last week, the judge adopted a psychologist’s finding that Stutzman is not capable of understanding legal proceedings and assisting his attorneys, but could be restored to mental competency with treatment.
    The psychologist’s report notes that Stutzman lacks consistent knowledge of the charges against him, holds delusional beliefs and has trouble “attending to and tracking lengthy information.”
    It is hoped Stutzman can be restored to competency within a year, Lutz said.
    Authorities say Stutzman, 32, of 17559 Harrison Road, shot and killed his adoptive parents on or about Jan. 9, then stole a 2006 Toyota Tundra pickup and credit cards.
    The bodies of Mervin Stutzman, 68, and Viola Stutzman, 65, were discovered Jan. 13 in the basement of the farmhouse they shared with their son. Authorities have said Mervin Stutzman’s head was removed from his body after his death.
    Stutzman has denied two counts of aggravated murder and single counts of aggravated burglary, grand theft, theft and gross abuse of a corpse.
    Each aggravated murder charge carries two specifications that, if proven, would make Stutzman eligible for the death penalty.
    Other potential penalties include life in prison without parole, life in prison with parole eligibility after 30 years and life in prison with parole eligibility after 25 years.