WARREN - A judge on Tuesday ordered Patrick Lawson Heltzel, 20, accused of murder, to undergo psychological testing for competency and sanity at the request of Heltzel's attorney.
Defense attorney John Juhasz filed the motions Tuesday with Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan, who ordered the tests through the Forensic Psychiatric Center of Northeast Ohio.
Heltzel, who is being held in lieu of $2 million bond, was charged with aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the stabbing of an elderly man in Warren Township.
Juhasz' motion for a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity is a matter that is to be considered later by any jury that hears the case after tests are performed. The plea suggests that Heltzel was insane at the time of the crime.
Tests for competency determine if Heltzel is capable of understanding the court proceedings and able to aid in his own defense. The defendant faces a maximum of life in prison with no chance of parole.
Heltzel, of Atlantic Street N.E., is accused of killing 71-year-old Milton A. Grumbling III, whose body was found April 4 inside his home at 4464 Kincaid East Road N.W., Warren Township. Prosecutors have declined to say what was stolen from Grumbling.
Heltzel was charged with murder within a day after a prosecutor's complaint. He had driven to North Carolina, where police there picked him up April 5. Warren Township police had issued an alert for him and a vehicle he took from his father.
Warren Township Lt. Don Bishop, who retrieved Heltzel from the Greensboro, N.C., area, also has declined to elaborate on the case.
He said the elderly man was known for helping disadvantaged people, especially youth. Although Grumbling lived alone, periodically he took people into his home.
Bishop said it is believed someone had been living with Grumbling when he died. It is not clear whether police believe that person was Heltzel.
Grumbling had been stabbed, including multiple wounds to the heart, according to an affidavit filed April 5 by prosecutors. He also had facial fractures and broken dentures, and a broken remote control was lying beneath his face, the document states.
It was discovered that Heltzel was in the Greensboro area, where his mother lives, and that Heltzel told her he had "stabbed an individual in Ohio named Milton," according to the affidavit. His mother called Warren Township police, who previously had contacted her in their search for Heltzel, the document states.