Judge James L. Bowling signed a court order today releasing Wellie Paul Grant, who was charged with the 2006 murder of Rex Coffey, declaring he is incompetent to stand trial.
Order finding the defendant incompetent to stand trial:
“During the course of this indictment the defendant has twice been found incompetent to stand trial. On each occasion the defendant was ordered to be hospitalized and treated until he might regain the level of competency necessary to participate in a trial. Following a third hearing on the issue of competency, the court found the defendant to be competent and scheduled the matter for trial. The defendant appealed the finding of competency. The Kentucky Court of Appeals did not disturb this court’s finding of competency but the passage of time during the length appeal process allowed the defendant’s dementia and overall physical health to worsen. The court ordered the defendant to be re-examined and conducted an additional competency hearing.
The court now finds that the window has closed on Wellie Paul Grant’s competency due to increasing and incurable dementia. The defendant is no longer competent to stand trial, nor does the court believe that he will ever regain competency. The court recognizes that its decision is a bitter pill to the Commonwealth and the victim’s family but no court has the power or ability to restore a demented mind once it reaches the point of no return.
The defendant shall be released from custody on a $100,000 unsecured bond subject to certain conditions. The defendant shall not possess or have access to a firearm. The defendant shall not operate a motor vehicle. The defendant shall remain at his home at all times unless in the company of his spouse or other adult family member, unless hospitalized to placed in a nursing facility.
This matter shall remain on the courts active docket but without a scheduled event until further orders of this court. So ordered, this 11th day of January, 2013”
Signed James L. Bowling, Jr., Special Judge
Commonwealth’s Attorney Gail Williams said today that he had received the news and is reviewing the options and his goal is to have Grant stand trial for murder.
Grant was charged with murder after Coffey was killed June 10, 2006 while talking with his wife and two others outside the Beech Grove Separate Baptist Church.
Grant admitted to police the following day that he killed Coffey. A recording of the confession was played in court in November 2007 during Grant’s first competency hearing.
During that hearing, the late Judge James Weddle ruled that Grant was not competent to stand trial after a state psychologist diagnosed Grant with dementia from Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease, resulting in symptoms of psychosis.
State law requires that a person is not competent to stand trial if he lacks the capacity to appreciate the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him and would be unable to rationally assist his counsel in his defense.