Judge Deems Man Incompetent To Stand Trial In Oconee Murder Case - WSPA.com

Judge Deems Man Incompetent To Stand Trial In Oconee Murder Case

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Nicholas Bonelli Nicholas Bonelli


Updated: April 2, 2013

A judge has ruled that a man accused of killing two women in Oconee County last year is incompetent to stand trial.

The case involving 86-year-old Nicholas Bonelli was heard in Oconee General Sessions Court Tuesday.

The judge also ordered that the murder charges remain pending to ensure that if Bonnelli were ever to be deemed competent by the state, the case would be again heard in court.

"This was a tragic case where a family lost two completely innocent loved ones during a single violent afternoon. The pain and loss they have suffered is immeasurable," said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. "While it is our goal to seek justice for the family of the victims, the defendant has been found incompetent and, under South Carolina law, we cannot proceed to trial. However, the Court's ruling today will ensure that the defendant will remain in a secure facility so that he cannot cause further harm in our community."

Posted: March 20, 2013

A judge postponed a ruling on a man accused of killing two women in Oconee County last year.

The 10th Circuit Solicitor's Office held a hearing at the Anderson County Courthouse Thursday.  Judge Cordell Maddox says he wants to speak with medical experts before signing an order to turn 86 year old Nicholas Bonelli over to probate court.

Previously, a state mental health expert ruled Bonelli is mentally incapable of standing trial.

Maddox says due to current law, he is concerned that once he sends Bonelli to probate court, he could lose jurisdiction.

Maddox is concerned Bonelli could fall through the cracks or the probate court could make a different ruling and he wants to make sure Bonelli is as incapacitated as doctors say and will be spending the rest of his life in a facility.

Bonelli has been held without bond since last November after he was arrested and charged with the murders of Clarine Smith, 82, and her niece, 63-year-old Sandra Myers on November 2. Authorities say that Smith died of a head injury and Myers had a stab wound to the chest. 

Maddox told family members due to current law, the solicitor can't prosecute Bonelli once a medical expert says he is unable to stand trial.

Family members are upset Bonelli will not stand trial and they believe Bonelli knew exactly what he was doing when the alleged killings occurred.

Maddox says he wants to have another hearing or at least a meeting in two weeks with state medical experts before making a ruling.

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