Judge orders competency evaluation for New London murder defendant
New London Superior Court Judge Hillary B. Strackbein ordered a competency evaluation Wednesday for Christopher Petteway, who is charged with fatally stabbing his former partner and housemate on Oct. 4.
The judge appointed attorney Kevin C. Barrs from the public defender's office to represent Petteway, 40, and continued the case until Nov. 20. Clinicians for the state will evaluate Petteway to determine whether he understands the proceedings against him and is capable of assisting in his defense.
He has been held in lieu of $2,050,000 since he allegedly stabbed Robert Parise, 63, of 25 Brainard St., New London, at Parise's home. Petteway had served a 30-day prison sentence this past summer after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct and second-degree threatening in connection with a June 19 incident involving Parise.
Arrested shortly after the stabbing and charged with murder and violation of a protective order, he told city police he had used a key to enter Parise's home and "just stabbed him up."
According to court officials and documents, Petteway has a history of substance abuse and mental issues and previous criminal records in New York, Florida and Virginia.
Family members and friends of the victim were in court for Petteway's appearance and spoke afterward with Senior Assistant State's Attorney Stephen M. Carney, who will be prosecuting the case.
If Petteway is found competent to stand trial, his attorney then will discuss with him whether he wants a probable cause hearing. Defendants in murder cases are entitled to such a hearing, at which the state would have to prove it has enough evidence to prosecute him.
If he is not found competent, the judge could order that he be transferred to the Whiting Forensic Hospital, where clinicians would work with him to restore him to competency.
Petteway is being held at the Garner Correctional Institution, which is the Department of Correction's facility for prisoners with mental health issues.
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