Psychiatrist says Matthews capable of assisting in own defense

Richard Matthews
Richard Matthews

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After two delays, it was back to court for the man accused of killing two people at his former job nearly four years ago.

Richard Matthews, 55, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in a shooting at the Grady Crawford Construction Company in December 2009.

Two psychiatrists testified Thursday morning they believe Matthews is capable of assisting in his own defense, but they added he may choose not to do so.

"Richard Matthews has been on voluntary lockdown for the past two-and-a-half years," said Dr. Michael Blue, the psychiatrist who examined Matthews. "He says he does not want to mingle with the rest of the prison population. That kind of behavior is not that unusual given his circumstances. My feeling is he just wants the system to sentence him and get it over."

Defense attorney Kyla Romanach argued if Matthews was not fully cooperative, then how could a complete evaluation be done on him.

Matthews is known for making statements whenever cameras are near him, but he mouthed off at family members of the victims during his latest court appearance.

"I didn't get a Christmas card," he said as he left the courtroom.

Judge Tony Marabella said he will rule on Matthews' ability to assist in his own defense in about 30 days.

In January, Marabella ordered three psychiatrists to evaluate Matthews. The prosecution requested the evaluation. Defense attorneys objected but to no avail.

The sanity hearing for the findings was initially set for April, but it was delayed for some unknown reason. It was rescheduled for July, but was delayed again because the psychiatrist did not show up for court.

Dianna Tullier, 44, of Walker and Cheryl Boykin, 55, of Denham Springs were shot to death in the attack. A third woman was also shot, but survived.

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