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Home » News » Crime

June 24. 2013 6:25PM

Court to determine whether Nashua murder suspect is compentent

NASHUA — After listening to both sides of the case, a superior court judge will now decide whether Duane Rolfe, the Nashua man accused of killing his sister earlier this year, is competent to stand trial.

It has been five months since Rolfe, 65, allegedly beat his sister to death with an undisclosed object.

On Monday, a competency hearing was held in Hillsborough County Superior Court to determine whether Rolfe is mentally capable of being tried on two alternative counts of murder.

Judith Rolfe died on Jan. 19 at the home she shared with her brother at 8 Belmont St.

Dr. Philip Kinsler, a clinical and forensic psychologist, has diagnosed that Duane Rolfe was psychotic, or legally insane at the time of the attack. According to court documents, Rolfe was likely suffering from schizophrenia or schizoaffective, a disorder that manifests itself in illogical, irrational and delusional behavior.

“Research into Mr. Rolfe’s medical history has revealed extensive mental health treatment history,” says a court document filed by defense attorney Timothy Landry.

Landry said earlier that if his client is deemed competent to stand trial, the defense team will rely on an insanity defense.

Landry has already filed a court notice to use the insanity defense if necessary.

Benjamin Agati, assistant attorney general, said previously that the state is conducting its own mental evaluation on Rolfe to determine whether he is competent for trial. Dr. Albert Drukteinis, a clinical psychiatrist, performed the state’s evaluation.

Drukteinis argues that the defendant is competent and is able to adequately work with his attorneys to make informed decisions regarding his defense, according to court records.

So far, authorities have remained silent about the woman’s fatal beating. The siblings operated McDonald’s kitchen shop in downtown Nashua for decades, according to friends, who said Judith Rolfe took care of her younger brother for many years.

The police affidavit detailing the crime has been sealed at the court house.

Rolfe’s attorney previously asserted his client’s right to a speedy trial, requesting that the case be tried within six to eight months.

Rolfe has been indicted on two alternative counts of murder. The first-degree murder charge alleges that Rolfe purposely caused the death of his sister by striking her repeatedly with an undisclosed blunt object, while the second-degree murder charge alleges that he recklessly caused her death by manifesting an extreme indifference to human life, says court documents.

Judge Diane Nicolosi is expected to take the testimony from Monday’s hearing into consideration before ruling on whether Rolfe is competent to stand trial.

khoughton@newstote.com


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