Attorneys tell judge of problems with having Richard Matthews mentally examined

Richard Matthews
Richard Matthews

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The man accused of killing two women at the construction company where he once worked was in court Thursday for a status hearing.

Lawyers for Richard Matthews, 55, of Slaughter, confirmed to Judge Tony Marabella that they have received funding to have their client mentally examined.

"We sent in our mental retardation expert to the prison to evaluate Richard Matthews and the first time, he did not have glasses to read the test," said defense attorney Kyla Romanach. "The second time the expert was told, 'He won't come out to see you.' So, it's sort of difficult to get this evaluation done. We are hoping he will come out next visit."

Matthews has already been cleared to assist in his own defense. If he is found to have a mental disability, the death penalty will be taken off the table in this case.

"The defense will have until next Friday to file what they need to evaluate the evidence," Marabella said. "I understand your (the prosecution) concerns about 'chain of evidence.'"

Matthews is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Dianna Tullier, 44, of Walker, and Cheryl D. Boykin, 55, of Denham Springs, at the Grady Crawford Construction Company in 2009. A third woman was also shot, but survived.

Matthews has confessed to the shooting, saying he intended to kill his then boss. In October 2013, Marabella ruled those tapes will be used as evidence in his trial. In one video clip, Matthews said he did not intend to kill the two women, but instead was trying to kill Trey Crawford, the owner of the company.

Matthews was fired from Grady Crawford Construction several months before the deadly shooting on Dec. 23, 2009 at the Greenwell Springs Road business.

In January 2013, Marabella ordered three psychiatrists to evaluate Matthews. The prosecution requested the evaluation. Defense attorneys objected but to no avail.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.