Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Amissville, VA: Amissville woman charged with first-degree murder in estranged husband's shooting death

In a strange twist of fate, the 57-year-old Amissville woman, who was charged Monday in the shooting death of her estranged husband in November, is expected to appear in Fauquier County Circuit Court on Valentine’s Day.

According to Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Fisher, a Fauquier County grand jury indicted Judy Kay Deal for felony first-degree murder and using a firearm in the commission of a felony for reportedly killing 60-year-old John Michael Deal, of Hume.

Mrs. Deal, who is being held on $25,000 secured bond at Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center in Winchester, is due to return to circuit court on Feb. 14 at 1 p.m.

Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a 911 call to a home in the 17000 block of Crest Hill Road on Nov. 20 around 4:30 p.m. where they found the body of John Michael Deal. He had suffered gunshot wounds to his torso, according to FCSO spokesman Lt. James Hartman.

Meanwhile, Judy Kay Deal, who was responsive to emergency medical personnel, was also found at the scene suffering from a "self-inflicted" gunshot wound. Judy Kay Deal, who was transported to Fairfax Hospital for emergency surgery, was released on Dec. 20, according to Fisher.

“The defendant shot and killed her husband and then turned the gun on herself sending a bullet though her brain,” said Fisher, during Monday’s hearing in circuit court. “She survived the attempted suicide, but the result of the wound left her with a traumatic brain injury from which she has progressed enough to be release from the hospital.”

Fisher added that Mrs. Deal is also scheduled to receive a competency assessment.

“We are now at the point where we need to have a professional conduct evaluation to determine if she has regained enough cognitive ability to be deemed competent to stand trial for the murder of her husband,” Fisher explained.

Based on Virginia law, a suspect is presumed “to be fully sane and competent to stand trial unless they show that they are not sane by legitimate psychological evidence.”

“Most cases include an examination concerning mental health disorders, but the Deal case will involve a medical aspect due to extensive brain damage that occurred from her self-inflicted gunshot wound,” explained Fisher in court Monday. “Based on the progression of her recovery, we are at the point where the case had to be pursued within the court system. We will now try to find an appropriate medical expert who can determine whether she is competent to stand trial. The legal standard for such a determination is simply whether she understands the charges against her and can assist her attorney in her defense.”

If released, Fisher said, Mrs. Deal will be “fitted with an electronic monitoring bracelet to track her whereabouts.”

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