Saturday, August 18, 2001

Killing suspect's mentality ruled OK

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Sophal Prom, accused of fatally shooting a co-worker at a Fairfield packaging company last year, is mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Friday.

        Ms. Prom, 35, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the Sept. 28 shooting death of Darlene Adams, 42, of Newport. Bothwomen worked at Prestige Display & Packaging in Fairfield.

Sophal Prom
Sophal Prom
        Ms. Prom's lawyer, Greg Howard, said he previously had questions about whether his client was mentally able to stand trial, but his concerns diminished after speaking with her Friday.

        “Whether she was insane at the time of the offense is an entirely different matter,” he said.

        Ms. Prom is being held in the Summit Behavioral Institute in Cincinnati awaiting a Dec. 17 trial. If convicted of aggravated murder, she faces 23 years to life in prison.

        Butler County Common Pleas Judge H.J. Bressler found Ms. Prom competent based on the report of Dr. Solomon Fulero. The Dayton, Ohio, psychologist evaluated Ms. Prom on Monday and said there is no question she has multiple mental health problems that require medication.

        “Overall, she appears to be a mentally ill person who is in some level of remission with the effects of medication,” Dr. Fulero wrote. He thinks she is competent to stand trial because “she is able to understand the nature and objectives of the proceedings against her, and she is also able to assist her attorney in her own defense.”

        In March, Judge Bressler found Ms. Prom incompetent after another psychologist said her condition had deteriorated after she refused to take medicine. Recently, though, Ms. Prom has been taking her prescribed doses regularly, Dr. Fulero said.

        Dr. Fulero recommended that Judge Bressler restrict TV cameras' use in the courtroom, adding that Ms. Prom “specifically volunteered that "I'm competent to stand trial, but not to face those cameras.'”

        Assistant Prosecutor Brenda Cox said she is pleased the case appears headed for trial.

        “It will be good to get this behind the victim's family,” she said. “It also will be good to have this tried for the public.”

        A former supervisor of Ms. Prom, Roxann Lindsey, of Loveland, said she broke out in tears upon hearing the news. “I just hope that the whole story comes out, and we can get some peace from this,” she said.


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