Under state law, Webster had no choice but to declare Nickey Smith incompetent until a hearing can be held to determine whether he can take part in his own defense.
If found not competent, state law says Nickey Smith would be sent to a state hospital facility for treatment until he is able to take part in his defense. At least one of the psychologists who evaluated the suspect wrote that he thought Nickey Smith would be competent to stand trial if given the proper medications.
But Webster, prosecutors and defense lawyers don't yet know if they can transfer Nickey Smith to a hospital while he's in federal custody. Webster asked Holicker and Starcher to contact federal officials to answer that question before January's hearing.
Nickey Smith's sentencing on the federal gun charge is scheduled for Wednesday. Federal prosecutors intend to proceed with the sentencing.
Steven Smith said he was not surprised that Holicker is arguing that Nickey Smith is incapable of standing trial. Although frustrated, the officer said Nickey Smith "has a right to be properly defended."
"This is how it works," he said.
But Steven Smith believes the suspect is mentally competent.
"He did what he did, and I honestly believe he knew what he was doing," he said. "I'd rather just go to trial and get on with my life."
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.