Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Accused Bondsman Killer Fit For Trial

A Richmond man accused of killing a bail bondsman has been found competent to stand trial.

Richmond psychologist Evan S. Nelson evaluated James E. Carr, 20, to determine his competence to stand trial as well as his level of sanity at the time of the killing. Based on Nelson's conclusions, Richmond Circuit Judge Beverly W. Snukals yesterday found Carr competent for trial, despite previous testimony that he had complained of hearing voices urging him to kill himself.

James E. Carr, 20, waived his right to a trial by jury and agreed instead to be tried by Snukals on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of James W. Woolfolk III. Snukals scheduled the trial for Aug. 15.

Defense attorney Dean Marcus said yesterday that Carr will not raise sanity as an issue in the trial, which is expected to last only a few hours because of general agreement about the facts of the case.

Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew P. Geary predicted a straightforward case at trial.

"Sanity is not an issue, competence is not an issue," Geary said. "We have a very strong case."

Woolfolk, 39, was attempting to arrest Carr early on March 6 in South Richmond when the unarmed bondsman was shot three times from behind. Police arrested Carr hours later after a tense standoff in a home several blocks from the Joplin Avenue house where Woolfolk died.

It was the first time a bail bondsman had been killed in the line of duty in Virginia in modern memory. Carr has been held in a jail in New Kent County because of concerns about his safety in Richmond City Jail. Authorities said inmates there who relied on Woolfolk for bonding directed threats at Carr.

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