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Man ruled incompetent to stand trial for father's murder

Union Leader Correspondent

January 29. 2018 8:09PM
Peter Giandalone, 25, appears in Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene on Monday afternoon. (Meghan Pierce/Correspondent)

KEENE — Murder charges were dropped in the case of a West Chesterfield man, who had tried to plead guilty to his father’s murder when he was first charged in 2016.

Peter Giandalone, 25, was charged with first- and second-degree murder and theft connected to the murder of his father, 64-year-old John Giandalone.

He was scheduled to face trial in Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene in February when he was found incompetent to stand trial by Cheshire Superior Court Judge David W. Ruoff, who ruled Giandalone be returned to the New Hampshire State Prison Secure Psychiatric Unit to continue his course of treatment there.

In August, Ruoff ordered Giandalone be re-evaluated to determine whether he had been restored to mental competency.

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

Giandalone appeared in court Monday afternoon for a status hearing during which Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley told Ruoff that according to Giandalone’s most recent evaluation by a psychiatrist, his condition has not changed and that he remains incompetent to stand trial.

Hinckley recommended the charges against Giandalone’s be dismissed without prejudice and defense attorneys for Giandalone agreed.

Hinckley also said Giandalone is a danger to himself and others and should be continued to be held for the maximum time allowable under state law, which is 90 days.

Ruoff agreed and said he would sign the order that Giandalone be held for the next 90 days, which gives the state time to proceed with the process of involuntarily committing Giandalone.

Hinckley said outside of the courtroom that at this point it is up to civil attorneys at the Attorney General’s office to take Giandalone to probate court to pursue an involuntary commitment.

“The court can issue an order committing him involuntarily up to five years,” Hinckley said.

Hinckley said though the charges have been dismissed they could be brought forward again if Giandalone is found to be competent to stand trial.

“Dismissed without prejudice does mean that we can reinstitute,” these charges, Hinckley said.

Prosecutors alleged Giandalone stabbed his father in the neck on July 12, 2016 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.

At his November 2016 arraignment, Giandalone admitted to the crime. “I would like to plead guilty because I know I did it,” Giandalone said.

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.

Courts Crime Keene West Chesterfield

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