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Competency questioned for suspect in death of former Dothan resident - Dothan Eagle: News

Competency questioned for suspect in death of former Dothan resident

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Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 3:08 pm

The alleged killer of a former Dothan woman and her young son will be examined by a mental health expert after questions of his competency to stand trial were recently raised.

Huntsville Police charged 34-year-old Stephen Marc Stone on Feb. 25, 2013, in the deaths of his wife, 32-year-old Krista Kowalsky Stone, and 7-year-old son Zachary Landon Stone.

A Madison County grand jury returned a two-count felony capital murder indictment against Stone, charging him with the murder of two or more people and murder of a victim under the age of 14.

Court records show Madison County Circuit Court Judge Donna S. Pate ordered Stone to be evaluated by Dr. Doug McKeown, a certified forensic examiner who is also a Dothan psychologist. The judge ordered Stone to be evaluated through the regional outpatient program contracted with the state Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation.

The court made the order after finding reasonable grounds existed to question Stone’s competency to stand trial and mental state at the time of the offenses. The court ordered the Madison County Sheriff’s Office to make Stone available for the evaluation, including his transportation for the outpatient visit.

The judge also ordered the examiner to complete a report to include the defendant’s mental condition relating to his ability to understand the charges pending against him and whether he can assist his attorney in his defense.

The court also said the report should include the condition causing the incompetency if it exists, the most appropriate type and place of treatment and the likelihood of the defendant attaining competency under treatment.

As part of the order, all criminal proceedings are suspended against Stone until the court has received the report from the state Department of Mental Health.

Officers with the Huntsville Police Department found Krista Stone and her son Zachery Stone dead in their home on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, after responding to the home for a welfare check.

The indictment against Stephen Stone charged him with choking his wife with his hands and killing his son in similar manner, with the additional allegation he also drowned his son.

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