Man’s competency to be decided

NEW CUMBERLAND – Defense attorneys for Adam McCloud have until May 9 to review two reports regarding their client’s mental competency to stand trial for the January 2012 murder of his girlfriend.

McCloud, 34, formerly of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, faces charges of murder and attempted arson in connection with the death of Sara Jean Williams, 37, in their rented Chester home on Jan. 26, 2012. An autopsy determined that Williams, an aide at Allison Elementary School, died of strangulation and blunt force injuries to the head.

Authorities found Williams and McCloud’s semi-conscious body in the basement of the Phaeton Avenue home after responding to a report of an odor of gas coming from the house. McCloud was taken to East Liverpool City Hospital and was arrested upon his release about a month later. A grand jury indicted him in May 2012.

McCloud’s attorney, public defender F. William Brogan Jr., filed a motion in September asking that his client be examined to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial. McCloud, who is being held at the Northern Regional Jail in Moundsville, was examined at Chestnut Ridge Center in Morgantown in January.

At a hearing Monday in Hancock County Circuit Court, Hancock County Prosecutor Jim Davis said his office had just received the reports. McCloud was not present for the hearing.

“We’ll need time to go through these materials,” Brogan told Senior Status Judge Larry Starcher, sitting in for Judge Martin J. Gaughan.

Relatives of Williams were at Monday’s hearing and complained about the slowness of the proceedings against McCloud. “We’re sensitive to your concerns,” Starcher said.

Competency to stand trial means that McCloud has the present ability to consult with his legal counsel, that he has sufficient memory and coherence of ideas to assist in the preparation of his defense, that he has sufficient capacity to testify on his behalf if he so chooses, and that he has sufficient capacity to understand the nature of the proceedings against him, according to the defense motion.

McCloud could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted. He also is being represented by attorney James Carey.

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