Only on 12: Springford Trial Likely Delayed. Suspect's Attorneys Say He's Incompetent. - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Only on 12: Springford Trial Likely Delayed. Suspect's Attorneys Say He's Incompetent.

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It looks like one of Montgomery's most notorius murder cases - the upcoming double murder trial for Brent Springford Junior - will not go on as scheduled June 23rd.

Springford's lawyers have filed new paperwork with the court saying because of pretrial stress, their client has lost his mental health and can't help them get ready for trial.

Springford's attorneys have long contended their client was perfectly able to help them mount a defense despite their plan to offer a jury a seemingly contradictory explanation for the crime.

Lawyer Bill Blanchard explained that strategy in March 2006

"Our plea is not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect," he said then.

But last week, Blanchard and co-counsel Jay Lewis filed this brief, saying as the June 23rd trial date approached, and pressure mounted, Springford's ability to talk with his lawyers degraded to the point that his 'competence to stand trial for capital murder must be seriously questioned.'

State psychologists have treated Springford in jail for a number of mental problems.

"During that time, he's been under medication for a mental condition," Blanchard said in the past.

Dr. Verna Wool is a clinical psychologist who has counseled other Alabama prisoners for 16 years during her practice. She wondered what may have caused the new problem.

"Something could have happened that set him off again," she said.

Dr. Wool hasn't examined Springford but questions the late psychological change.

"I guess it's possible, but it's unusual," she said.  "If he had been on psychotropic medication and was deemed sane, not psychotic, and able to stand trial, then perhaps he went off the medication."

Springford's lawyers have asked Judge William Shashy to send Springford directly to the state's Taylor Hardin Secure Mental Hospital in Tuscaloosa for yet another examination.

Prosecutors asked the judge to have a state doctor come here to look at Springford.

"That would require several days to a week," said Dr. Wool.

Wool also said it's highly unlikely either will get done before June 23rd, which means the living victims in the crime, the remaining Springford family, will have to wait longer for any resolution.

State prosecutors and Springford's lawyers submitted their requests for another mental evaluation in writing to Judge William Shashy on May 27th.

So far, he's not issued a ruling

In the meantime, Shashy has told both sides not to issue any subpoenas to bring out of state witnesses here to Alabama June 23rd. That seems to indicate that court date is dead.

Springford's attorneys have also filed a motion to suppress certain evidence Montgomery police uncovered during their investigation of the murders.

Shashy also has yet to rule on that motion.

Reporter: Chris Holmes

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