Lawyers: Accused Capitol gunman may have broken arm
Medical questions raised prior to competency hearing
March 15, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Russell Weston, in federal custody over the killing of two U.S. Capitol policemen, may have suffered a broken arm while being transported during the past week or two, his lawyers said on Monday.
At a hearing, public defender A.J. Kramer asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to order x-rays and other medical documentation for Weston, who faces a competency hearing on April 19.
Another public defender, L. Barrett Boss, told CNN that Weston's arm may have been broken during rough treatment, but that it may not have been done deliberately or with malice.
Boss said the documentation requested should clear up the circumstances of how Weston may have broken his arm. The lawyers did not reveal what caused them to have suspicions about Weston's arm.
Weston was returned to the District of Columbia on March 2 after refusing for a month to talk with psychiatrists at the Medical Facility for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.
Weston, 42, allegedly gunned down officers John Gibson and Jacob Chestnut in a corridor of the Capitol on July 24. The suspect is recovering from severe bullet wounds he received when police responded to the gunfire.
He arrived for Monday's hearing in a wheelchair, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit. His arms were bandaged, and intravenous tubes were draped across the wheelchair.
At issue during the status hearing held on Monday was whether Weston is competent to stand trial.
Hoping to avoid delays, Sullivan told the court he would order prosecutors to prepare briefs in the next two weeks on whether Weston might benefit from medication that could improve his mental clarity.
Defense lawyers would be given two weeks to reply to the findings from prosecutors.
During Monday's 20-minute hearing, Weston spoke clearly and answered "yes" quickly when the judge asked him if he is satisfied with his legal counsel.
Defense attorneys told Sullivan they expect between 40 and 50 witnesses for the competency hearing.
Government lawyer Ron Walutes said prosecutors will have subpoenaed about the same number of witnesses by then.
Weston was examined by a court-appointed government psychiatrist last October who determined that he was incompetent to stand trial and recommended indefinite hospitalization.
Sullivan, however, ordered a second evaluation at the Missouri facility. Examiners there failed repeatedly in their efforts to interview Weston.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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