Badgely ruled competent to stand trial

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A 21-year-old Greencastle man, accused of murder in the Sept. 12 stabbing death of his father, has been ruled competent to stand trial and assist in his own defense.

No trial date was set in Putnam Superior Court Wednesday morning during a brief pretrial conference in the case of Thomas W. Badgley.

Court-appointed psychiatrists Dr. George Parker and Dr. Ned Masbaum of the Indiana University Department of Psychiatry, Indianapolis, had examined the defendant during separate December visits to their offices.

Both doctors have returned the opinion that Badgley is competent to assist in his own defense, and thus able to stand trial for the death of his father, Tommie Dale Badgley, 53.

The court thus vacated a Jan. 23 competency hearing date as unnecessary after Wednesday's competency disclosures.

Noting the similarity of the doctors' findings, Judge Denny Bridges said, "the court is of the opinion that it would be a waste of time and resources for the doctors to come testify to what is already in their reports."

Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter readily agreed, noting the doctors' accord.

"We're willing to accept the doctors' reports," Badgley's court-appointed counsel, Dennis L. Thomas Jr., Indianapolis, responded, noting that he originally had been concerned about "certain statements" the suspect made at the time of his arrest.

However, after a series of conversations over the last few months, Thomas said he is convinced Badgley "understands what's going on and can assist me."

Thomas, a one-time local attorney and former Greencastle resident, had filed the petition to determine competency on behalf of Badgley, who did not appear in court on Wednesday.

The court also rescheduled the final pretrial conference in the proceedings from Feb. 6 to April 10 at 11 a.m. in order to give Thomas more time to depose witnesses.

Thomas told the court the two prime witnesses he intends to depose are the defendant's mother, Debbie Badgley, and the forensic pathologist, Dr. Roland Kohr of Terre Haute.

Badgley is being held without bond at the Putnam County Jail. The murder charge he faces carries a sentence range of 45-65 years.

In circumstances leading up to the fatal stabbing, it was feared the younger Badgley had overdosed after taking several pills. His parents, Tommie and Debbie Badgley, rushed to their son's 906 S. Crown St. residence, intending to get their son to go to the emergency room.

However, the suspect reportedly responded by swinging a fist at his father.

That reportedly led the elder Badgley to swing back and assert, "I am not going to stand here and watch my son die," court documents note.

Thomas Badgley then reportedly went to the kitchen, retrieved a knife from a drawer and stabbed his father.

An autopsy by Dr. Kohr revealed the victim died of a single stab wound that entered between two ribs and perforated his heart, court records note.

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