Accused Liberty shooter to get competency review
WARREN — The Youngstown man accused of shooting a driver on June 10, before getting into a shootout with police in Liberty, has been given the green light to undergo a mental evaluation at a Summit County health care center.
This is to determine whether Kevin Mallard, 55, is fit to stand trial on felony charges connected to that shooting.
Mallard was seated in a wheelchair for a hearing Tuesday before Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald J. Rice, who ordered Mallard be sent to Northcoast Behavioral Health Care in Northfield for mental testing.
Mallard of Manhattan Avenue, Youngstown, was indicted on charges of attempted aggravated murder with a firearm specification, attempted murder with a firearm specification, inducing panic with a firearm specification, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle and carrying concealed weapons.
Rice set an Oct. 4 hearing when a psychological report on Mallard’s mental state is expected to be completed and the judge can rule on his competency to stand trial — and a not guilty by reason of insanity plea proposed by his public defender.
The insanity plea has not yet been accepted by the court. Mallard is scheduled to be back in the courtroom at 1:30 p.m. Aug. 9.
The judge said he had reviewed Mallard’s sealed U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical records that show he has a history of mental illness.
“What I’m really interested in is whether or not he knows the difference between right and wrong on that day,” Mallard’s lawyer, Eugene Fehr, said at a previous hearing, during which the attorney admitted his client suffers from mental illness.
An indictment accuses Mallard of approaching and shooting Zach Woods, 20, of Warren, as he sat behind the wheel of a Mercedes. Mallard got out of his car about 3 p.m. at the corner of East Liberty Street and Belmont Avenue to shoot Woods at arm’s length with a handgun, according to the indictment. He is accused of firing one shot, striking Woods in the left temple with the bullet traveling through both eye sockets and the nasal cavity. Woods was blinded by the shot.
The indictment states Mallard walked back to his Humvee after the shooting and drove off. He then turned onto East Liberty Street near an Interstate 80 exit ramp, where police officers responding to the shooting stopped him and a shootout began. Heavy gunfire was exchanged. Reports show police officers struck Mallard several times in the extremities, wounding him. He still is recovering from those injuries.
At his June 28 arraignment, Mallard had asked Rice for the death penalty, but the judge replied he could not do that because the charges do not reach the seriousness of capital offenses.