Manchester man accused of murder to undergo mental competency examBy JAMES A. KIMBLE
Union Leader Correspondent
August 20. 2013 11:40PM
BRENTWOOD — A Manchester man charged with first-degree murder for the 2001 killing of George Jodoin is having his competency evaluated to determine whether he is mentally fit enough to stand trial in October.
Public defenders for Arthur Collins, 44, were allowed by a judge to seek a competency evaluation after discovering that their client was diagnosed in 2010 with psychological and behavioral abnormalities associated with dysfunction of the brain, according to court records.
Public Defender William Schultz said in court papers that the defense recently learned that a clinical psychologist working for the Social Security Administration examined Collins on April 7, 2010.
Collins was collecting Social Security Disability benefits at the time of his arrest.
His 2010 examination concluded that Collins suffers from major depression, an anxiety disorder with panic attacks and "inhalant induced dementia," according to Schultz.
"A legitimate question exists as to the defendant's competency to stand trial," Schultz said in his request.
A mental health professional with the Division of Medical and Forensic Services is expected to examine Collins. Chief Justice Tina Nadeau approved the request of the evaluation on Aug. 12.
State prosecutors have yet to respond.
Collins has been held without bail since his arrest last May. He is accused of shooting Jodoin, a Manchester businessman, several times in the head at his Auburn farm house on the night of Dec. 26, 2001.
The body of Jodoin, 50, was found in bed with bullet wounds riddled along his head and neck, according to police. Prosecutors recently asked a judge permission to tell a jury about Collins 2002 conviction for filing a false report to law enforcement. The state wants to bring up the conviction if Collins chooses to testify in his own defense at trial as a way to challenge his veracity before a jury.
Prosecutors revealed last month that prior to becoming a suspect in the murder, Collins acted as a cooperating witness when detectives with the state's Cold Case Unit reopened the investigation last February. "The defendant went so far as to place two recorded telephone calls to (another suspect) regarding (his) alleged criminal acts in an effort to allegedly assist the investigation," state prosecutor Stacey Coughlin said in a court motion. Public defender Kevin O'Keefe recently objected to the state's request, arguing that prosecutors cannot use the 2002 conviction because it's beyond a 10-year window that is allowed under the rules of evidence.
The court can make exceptions to the rule, but O'Keefe contends that the state cannot meet the five-prong criteria to get an exception.