Lattus Found Incompetent to Stand Trial
By WestKyStar Staff
HICKMAN, KY - Prosecution was put on hold Tuesday in the shooting death of Hickman Mayor Charles Murphy when the man accused of pulling the trigger was ruled incompetent to stand trial.
The Paducah Sun Reports that 30 year-old Thomas Lattus was ordered to stay at Western State Hospital in Hopkinsville for up to 360 days following a long competency hearing in Fulton Circuit Court in Hickman.
Commonwealth Attorney Mike Stacy said charges of murder and first-degree burglary resulting from Murphy’s Jan. 23 death will be dismissed until Lattus is ruled competent to stand trial.
Stacy said he disagreed with the ruling and argued to proceed with the case.
Dennis Null, Lattus’ attorney, said that he agreed with the ruling. He said Richard Johnson, a clinical psychologist at Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in LaGrange, testified that Lattus was evaluated considerably longer than most patients. Lattus is reported to have spent 92 days under evaluation.
Null said Lattus will be treated until he can stand trial. That could happen within 360 days. If it takes longer than that, the entire process will have to start over.
Police say Lattus showed up at the station about 1:20 a.m., stating he had just shot Murphy. Murphy was allegedly in a romantic relationship with Lattus’ adoptive mother, Carol Lattus. Thomas Lattus told police that he thought Murphy had hurt or killed his mother and that God told him to kill Murphy. Carol Lattus was unharmed and traveling in Europe at the time.