Quadruple murder suspect competent to stand trial

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - A Jefferson County judge has declared Scott Lamar Abbott mentally competent to stand trial.  

That decision came Wednesday after a hearing was held to determine if Abbott is capable of participating in his defense.  

Abbott is accused of killing four people at a Hueytown home in March 2009.  The victims were Nika Sandlin, 24, Jeri Lynn Cole, 27, Joshua Gileo, 26, and William Chad Gilbert, 31.

During Wednesday's hearing, Dr. Allen Shealy, a clinical psychologist for the defense, agreed with the state's psychologist that he is mentally competent to stand trial.  But still at issue: whether Abbott was mentally capable of forming the intent to kill at the time of the crime.  

Court records show Abbott has a lifelong history of mental illness and physical and sexual child abuse.   He has spent time in several mental hospitals in Gadsden and been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia as well as substance abuse.   

His access to treatment and medication over the years has reportedly been sporadic.   However, his attorney says since he's been in jail for this charge, abbot has received medication and so that has helped to keep him mentally stable.   

Now that the courts have ruled on his competency to stand trial, it will now be left up to a jury to decide what his mental standing in March 2009.  Abbott's trial is set for August 23rd.   The state is seeking the death penalty.

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