A judge found Dustin Musso competent to stand trial in the 2009 slaying of his grandfather at his Baton Rouge home after a psychiatrist testified Tuesday that Musso told him he was going to answer the psychiatrist’s questions incorrectly so he would be found incompetent.
“Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have said that. Are you going to report that?” Dr. Herman Soong recalled Musso saying during his Jan. 21 examination of Musso at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
Dr. Lawrence Wade, a fellow psychiatrist, testified earlier Tuesday that he examined Musso on Dec. 4 at the prison and concluded he is competent to proceed to trial.
Wade said he did find that Musso has two personality disorders and a substance abuse disorder.
Musso, who was animated and talkative during the morning session of the sanity hearing but very subdued in the afternoon, called Wade a “liar” at one point while Wade was testifying in the morning.
Soong testified he was unable to give an opinion with reasonable certainty as to Musso’s capacity to proceed to trial but stated, “He didn’t show me any signs he was blatantly incompetent.”
State District Judge Mike Erwin appointed Wade and Soong last summer to examine Musso after Lance Unglesby, one of Musso’s court-appointed attorneys, told the judge he had additional medical information to provide to the court.
Erwin ruled in 2010 that Musso was competent to stand trial after psychiatrists José Artecona and Terry LeBourgeois testified they found no evidence of mental disease or defect in Musso but said he has an anti-social personality disorder.
Prosecutor Prem Burns argued Tuesday that Musso is “very intelligent” and has been playing the judicial system.
“There has been manipulation, malingering,” she argued to the judge. “He darn well knows what’s going on here.”
Unglesby stated during the daylong sanity hearing that Musso “is not able to assist” his attorneys. He suggested the 32-year-old Musso, who made several suicide attempts at a young age, is bipolar.
“He cannot get (at Parish Prison) the medical care he needs to assist me,” Unglesby told the judge.
Musso is scheduled to stand trial Dec. 2 on a first-degree murder charge. He no longer faces the death penalty.
Musso is accused of killing 76-year-old Peter Musso, setting the man’s Glenda Drive home on fire and stealing his car. Peter Musso’s body was discovered May 5, 2009, by firefighters while they put out the fire. Police have said investigators believe the fire was set to cover up Peter Musso’s death.
Although he died of smoke inhalation, an autopsy showed the elder Musso suffered trauma to his head, police stated.
Dustin Musso was sentenced to four years in prison in 1999 for stealing his grandmother’s car from the same Glenda Drive home, court records show.
Musso’s attorneys have said previously he was in 23 foster homes starting at the age of 3 and has had a “troubled” and “tortured” life.
Wade testified Musso has displayed “a consistent disregard for the rights of others” since the age of 15.
Musso also is charged with attempted second-degree battery and two counts of battery on an officer stemming from a Feb. 10, 2012, incident at Parish Prison in which sheriff’s officials say Musso cut another inmate’s throat with a razor.
Musso spit on two detectives when they tried to question him about the cutting, sheriff’s officials said.
Musso wore a mask during an October 2010 court hearing to prevent him from spitting. He has not worn such a mask in court since then.