PRESTONSBURG – A Perry County man accused of stabbing a local judge was found competent to stand trial for a second time.
Ronnie Brock, 57, of Bonnyman, was charged with attempted murder and first-degree assault for allegedly stabbing District Judge Leigh Anne Stephens several times in September 2010 at the Circle T restaurant in Airport Gardens. Stephens received only minor wounds during the altercation, which was broken up by a bystander inside the restaurant.
Brock was originally found competent to stand trial in June 2011 after his then defense attorney requested a psychiatric evaluation. That ruling was affirmed during a second hearing on May 17, according to Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner, who is serving as special prosecutor in the case. Turner noted that the second hearing was held because there had been some issues following the first competency ruling, and subsequently some concern that Brock’s condition may have changed.
Ned Pillersdorf, Brock’s current attorney, noted that special judge John David Caudill, of Floyd County, had questions as to Brock’s ability to stand trial, and ordered Brock to take medication.
“The hearing was to determine his status after the medication,” Pillersdorf said, adding that since last week’s hearing he has filed a notice that he will seek the insanity defense in the case.
The case is currently set to go to trial on September 4, and Pillersdorf added that he can’t speculate as to whether the case will go to trial, but there are questions as to whether his client was competent at the time the assault was alleged to have taken place.
“We have filed a notice to raise that he was incompetent at the time of the offense, and I do think there are serious questions whether he is competent right now,” he said.
Brock is currently lodged in the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard. If the case goes to trial, it will likely be held in Prestonsburg.