Lattus re-indicted on murder charge

Lattus re-indicted on murder charge

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Two months after he was scheduled to go to trial for the Jan. 23 shooting death of then Hickman, Ky., mayor Charles Murphy, murder suspect Tommy Lattus has now been ruled competent to stand trial. He has been re-indicted on the murder charge by the Fulton County Grand Jury, according to commonwealth attorney Mike Stacy.
He told The Messenger early today that Lattus will be returned to Fulton County next week to be arraigned.
Lattus had originally been scheduled to stand trial on Sept. 10 for Murphy’s murder, but was ruled mentally incompetent by Fulton County (Ky.) Circuit Court Judge Tim Langford. He made his ruling at an hour-long pre-trial hearing in late August and Lattus was ordered to undergo court-ordered psychiatric treatment at Western State Hospital in Louisville.
He will now be returned to the Fulton County Detention Center in Hickman and will again stand trial on the murder charge.
Mayfield, Ky., attorney Dennis Null has represented Lattus, while the state has been represented by Stacy.
Lattus, 30, is facing a Class A murder charge and a first-degree burglary charge in connection with the Jan. 23 murder of Murphy, who was found dead in the bedroom of his home about 1:20 a.m. A 12-gauge Beretta shotgun was found on the porch at the murder scene, according to Hickman police officer Phillip Burnett.
Burnett has testified that Lattus came to the Hickman Police Department and claimed to have killed Murphy.
A series of pre-trial hearings was held for Lattus leading up to the Aug. 28 hearing where he was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. That diagnosis came following a lengthy conference call with Dr. Richard Johnson, a licensed psychologist with the Louisville mental hospital.
During his testimony, Dr. Johnson used such terms as “active psychosis,” “very demanding” and “psychotic” to describe Lattus’ behavior. He also testified that Lattus’ behavior ranged from relatively cooperative to “threatening and aggressive.” Dr. Johnson had evaluated Lattus over a three-month period and submitted a 25-page psychiatric evaluation to the court.
Now, though, Lattus has been cleared to stand trial.
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Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by email at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 11.9.12

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