Man accused of killing postal carrier faces competency hearing

Sunday, December 23rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A 27-year-old man faces a Jan. 22 hearing to determine if he is competent to stand trial for allegedly killing a postal carrier.

Federal prosecutors charged Jason M. Weed with first-degree murder under a statute that pertains to the murder of federal employees who are engaged in their official duties.

Weed is accused of killing Robert W. Jenkins, 30, as Jenkins was delivering mail at a Tulsa apartment complex on Dec. 12. Weed acted irrationally and walked down a street firing a gun into the air before being arrested.

According to a motion unsealed Friday, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Tulsa asked that Weed be transported to a federal medical facility so that a mental competency examination could be done.

In a hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Sam Joyner, Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Horn said the government decided to file the motion after viewing a three-minute videotape made at the Tulsa Police Department on the day of Weed's arrest. The videotape was ordered sealed.

Psychologist Curtis Grundy testified for the defense that the tape appeared to show Weed behaving in an illogical, confused and psychotic manner.

Grundy said Weed's mental condition has since improved, and after examining him for about 9 1/2 hours over the past week, Grundy said he has concluded that Weed is mentally competent to stand trial. Grundy said steroid use could explain Weed's previous behavior.

Weed's mental competency at the time of the slaying could eventually be an issue, but Assistant Federal Public Defender Julia O'Connell said the issue before the court now is whether Weed is currently able to understand the charge against him and whether he can assist in his defense.

O'Connell said she believes her client is mentally competent and Grundy's expert examination supports that opinion. O'Connell told the court she suspects the government would like to have her client further examined as part of a fishing expedition into aspects of the case besides his current competency.

Horn said prosecutors should not have to rely on the conclusions of the defense's ``hand-picked'' psychologist and are entitled by law to have an independent evaluation of Weed.

Joyner decided not to have Weed committed to a federal medical facility, but did order that Weed be made available for an exam to be done by a mental health expert brought in by the government in advance of the Jan. 22 hearing.

O'Connell said she would advise her client not to speak to such a person without counsel present. She said she would appeal Joyner's decision.

The defense declined to comment when asked if a '''roid (steroid) rage'' defense is planned.