Weston to Remain at Butner After Judge Dismisses His Competency Motion

Posted May 6, 2008 at 11:13am

RALEIGH, N.C. — A federal judge Tuesday dismissed a formal request by Russell Weston Jr. that he be discharged from the federal mental facility where he has lived for years.

It was the first time Weston himself had asked for a competency hearing, a move that, if granted, would have allowed him to stand trial in the 1998 killing of two Capitol Police officers.

Weston, 51, had filed a motion on March 6 for a hearing that would determine whether he “still meets the criteria for commitment.”

At Tuesday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Earl Britt of the Eastern District of North Carolina said Weston failed to meet that “burden of proof.”

Britt’s decision means that it will be years — if ever — until Weston goes to trial. Instead, he will return to the Federal Medical Center in Butner, N.C., where he has lived for most of the years he has been in custody.

Britt’s decision was expected — Butner’s staff and an independent expert agree that Weston has severe delusions that have not responded to six years of medication.

But the motion marked the first time Weston has formally asked to be declared competent since being indefinitely committed almost three years ago.

On Tuesday, forensic psychologist Holly Rogers testified that Weston does not think he is ill or that he should be facing charges.

”Sometimes there are individuals who simply do not respond to medication,” said Rogers, who was handpicked by Weston to conduct an independent mental review. “I think Mr. Weston is one of those.”

Weston is accused of shooting and killing Officer Jacob Chestnut and Detective John Gibson. He has never been declared competent to stand trial.

— Emily Yehle