Judge warns murder suspect

WARREN – A judge told a murder defendant Tuesday that if he fails to cooperate with the court and submit to a competency exam, then he will be forced to commit the man to a psychiatric facility.

Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan told Royce Honaker to make himself available to Dr. Thomas Gazley of the Forensic Psychiatric Center of Northeast Ohio, or he will be taken from Trumbull County Jail to a state-run facility that cares for criminal defendants.

Logan ordered in September that the Forensic Center of Northeast Ohio in Austintown conduct a psychiatric evaluation on Honaker, but Honaker has refused to cooperate on at least two occasions.

Logan had appointed another attorney as a guardian ad litem to recruit lawyers willing to represent Honaker.

Honaker, a 61-year-old former autoworker from Southington, has already fired several attorneys. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bond after he confessed to a 911 dispatcher, telling her he shot his wife, Donna, last July 31.

Current attorneys J. Gerald Ingram and John Juhasz of Youngstown and Paul Adamson of Akron on Tuesday withdrew formal motions to withdraw as counsel. But all three said they were either fired by Honaker, or they are unable to communicate with him.

Honaker, of Countyline Turnpike Road, told the judge that he was now satisfied with the three lawyers.

The defense team already has had Honaker examined by another mental health professional to help determine if he is competent to stand trial. The court is awaiting an official report on the evaluation.

Honaker was indicted on aggravated murder charges, which can mean a prison term of 20 years to life.

A trial date of April 29 had been set but will be moved back until evaluations are completed.

According to authorities, Honaker called 911 and told dispatchers he had just killed his 58-year-old wife. He told the dispatcher his address, then hung up when she asked what happened.

Family members of both Royce and Donna Honaker said Royce Honaker suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and that his condition had worsened leading up to the shooting.

Royce Honaker filed for divorce in April 2012 because he believed, among other things, his wife was poisoning his food, according to reports. She moved out of the house but returned frequently to care for him and make sure he was safe.

They were married for 40 years, had four children and several grandchildren.

Royce Honaker installed security cameras and motion sensor lights throughout their property and boarded up windows because he believed people were watching him, family said.