Thursday, August 26, 2004

Officials link casings to suspect

Prosecutors say evidence bolsters case vs. alleged highway shooter

By Carrie Spencer
The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - Documents released Wednesday show that bullet casings were found in the vehicle of the man charged in a series of highway shootings.

Prosecutors say that supports witness reports linking the shooter and the car.

Investigators found three casings inside the defroster of the green Chevrolet Metro belonging to Charles McCoy Jr. The vehicle was searched in March shortly after McCoy was arrested in Las Vegas. His mother's home, where he lived, was searched on the day the Franklin County Sheriff's Office issued an arrest warrant.

McCoy, 28, has pleaded innocent to 24 counts in shootings from October through February, including the death of a 62-year-old woman in November. She was the only person hit in the shootings that occurred mostly around the Interstate 270 beltway on the city's south side.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said the casings could corroborate witnesses who saw a man who looks like McCoy near a small dark car.

McCoy has severe paranoid schizophrenia, a mental illness that includes delusions, a defense psychiatrist has said. The defense says McCoy is legally competent to stand trial while medicated, but a formal hearing to rule on his competence is set for Friday.

McCoy's attorneys have until Sept. 3 to decide if he will plead innocent by reason of insanity.

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