More than a decade has passed since Richard N. Williams allegedly walked into his uncle’s barber shop and fatally shot two men. He may finally stand trial next month – unless he cooperates on a mental health examination or goes without medication.
Williams, 38, has pleaded not guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to the murder charges. Since the Dec. 14, 2007, fatal shooting at Sharp Edge Barber Shop, Williams has been on a loop that seems never to stop, Assistant District Attorney Hank Syms said Wednesday.
Part of the delay was caused because after the fatal shootings of Robert Williams, 44, and Robert Carroll, 35, Williams was incarcerated in DeKalb County. After the shootings, according to prior reports in The Augusta Chronicle, Williams allegedly kidnapped two people at gun point and forced them to drive to DeKalb County. While there, Williams was found incompetent to stand trial, Syms said.
Williams suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.
Over the years since Williams was returned to Augusta, he would be found incompetent to stand trial, then he would be restored to competency with forced medication, then he would return to incompetency because he refused to take his medication, Syms said. Williams is forcibly medicated in the mental hospital.
Williams was most recently sent to the hospital last fall for an evaluation for criminal responsibility. But Williams refuses to cooperate with the mental health staff, Syms said. The doctor wants to discharge Williams because there is no reason for hospitalization except for the medicine delivered by injection.
Williams has a March 12 trial date.
Defense attorney Ben Stewart suggested that Williams be kept at the jail until or unless he cooperates with the mental examination. If he doesn’t cooperate, then the trial will go forward on March 12. If he does, the trial date can be postponed.
Judge Sheryl B. Jolly agreed to that proposition. But Williams must be returned to the hospital before his next injection is due, she said.
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