Friday, May 21, 1999

Suspect ruled competent to stand trial in stabbing


Deerfield Twp. man accused of attempting to kill his wife

BY SHEILA McLAUGHLIN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — A Deerfield Township man who said he was insane when he tried to kill his wife and then himself in February is competent to stand trial, a judge has ruled. Philip Cothran, 48, is to go on trial next week before Judge P. Daniel Fedders on charges of attempted murder, kidnapping, felonious assault and child endangering.

Lawyer agrees
        In a brief hearing Tuesday in Warren County Common Pleas Court, Mr. Cothran's lawyer, Charles Rittgers, said he agreed his client was competent.

        Mr. Cothran, who remains free on a $250,000 bond, changed his plea last month from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity.

        The competency hearing was to establish whether Mr. Cothran understands the charges against him and is able to aid his lawyer in his defense.

        Judge Fedders will consider the insanity issue during the three-day trial, which starts Monday. Mr. Cothran has opted for a trial before the judge instead of a jury.

        Mr. Cothran is accused of stabbing his wife, Terri, in the face, chest and back after locking their twin 3-year-old daughters in a bedroom at their home on Shadowridge Drive on Feb. 6.

        He then waited until he thought Mrs. Cothran was dead before trying to asphyxiate himself in the garage, authorities said.

        A neighbor called police after Mrs. Cothran escaped from the house when Mr. Cothran went into the garage.

Under doctor's care
        Court records indicate that Mr. Cothran, a lab technician at Procter & Gamble Co., was under a doctor's care for depression for three years before the attack.

        He was admitted to the Lewis Center for observation and evaluation after his arrest.

        He now resides with a son in Harrison and is banned from Warren and Butler counties as a condition of his bond, except to attend court hearings and meet with his lawyer.

       



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