Psychiatric evaluation continues for accused murderer

( file photo, courtesy

A Wallaceburg senior accused of murdering his wife last year is being sent to a facility in St. Thomas for further mental health assessment.

The 94-year-old has had his first psychiatric evaluation done but his lawyer Greg McGivern was granted a 30 day extension for more assessment and mental health care for his client. The murder case will be back in Chatham court via video for an update and to determine the next steps on April 16 after a pre-trial hearing Friday afternoon.

The elderly man was charged with second degree murder after Chatham-Kent police found the body of his 89-year-old wife at an apartment unit on Margaret Avenue in Wallaceburg at approximately 3:30 a.m. on December 26, 2020. They were responding to a report of a sudden death and found the woman without any vital signs. Investigators said, despite life-saving efforts, the woman was pronounced dead at the scene.

McGivern requested the first assessment at the end of January to determine if the accused is fit to stand trial and if he bears any criminal responsibility for the crime or has a mental disorder that would exempt him from responsibility. Thirty days is the maximum allowable time to conduct the assessment.

The accused can’t be named because of a publication ban to protect the victim’s identity. The 94-year-old will now be transferred from the Windsor jail to the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care for his continuing psychiatric evaluation.