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West Chesterfield man's competency to stand trial for father's murder to be reviewed

Union Leader Correspondent

August 21. 2017 8:41PM
Peter Giandalone at his arraignment in Keene in November on charges he killed his father. (Meghan Pierce/Union Leader Correspondent)

KEENE — A West Chesterfield man who wanted to plead guilty to his father’s murder in November and was then ruled incompetent to stand trial in February will be re-evaluated.

Peter Giandalone, 24, is charged with first- and second-degree murder and theft connected to the murder of his father, 64-year-old John Giandalone.

He is also charged with multiple counts of forgery.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley said Monday that during a status conference of the case on Wednesday a judge ordered Giandalone be re-evaluated to determine whether he has been restored to mental competency.

According to state law if a defendant cannot be restored to competency within 12 months, the case against the defendant will be dismissed without prejudice.

Hinckley said he could not speak about Giandalone specifically, but said a defendant could receive treatment that returns him to competency and makes him able to stand trial.

At his November arraignment Giandalone admitted to the crime. “I would like to plead guilty because I know I did it,” Giandalone said.

Cheshire Superior Court Judge David W. Ruoff refused to accept pleas from Giandalone during his arraignment on the murder and theft charges because of a motion from his defense attorneys asking that Giandalone be evaluated for competency to stand trial.

Ruoff ruled in February Giandalone was not fit to stand trial in his current mental state.

“The evaluation finds that the defendant is presently not competent to stand trial, but that he may be restored to competency after a period of treatment for his significant metal health issues. Neither party objects to the finding of the evaluator,” Ruoff wrote in his competency order on Friday.

Ruoff said while Giandalone is not competent at present, his competency may be restored in the course of his treatment at the New Hampshire State Prison Secure Psychiatric Unit.

Ruoff ordered a status conference to be held in six months to re-evaluate Giandalone’s competency to stand trial.

Hinckley said Monday that the same psychiatrist who evaluated Giandalone earlier will do this evaluation. A status conference date will be set to take place sometime in October, Hinckley said.

Hinckley said he could not speculate on what would happen next. One of the parties could request a second opinion on the evaluation or a competency hearing could be requested and set.

“There are various options that can happen, but all of the options play on what the results of the competency evaluation are,” he said.

Giandalone was indicted by a Cheshire County grand jury on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and theft by unauthorized taking.

It is alleged he stabbed his father in the neck on July 12 at their home in West Chesterfield.

Giandalone fled the state with his father’s car and was arrested in South Carolina five days later.

At the time of his father’s murder, Giandalone was under house arrest on pending forgery charges.

Courts Crime West Chesterfield

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