Alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe, facing a trial in the 2017 slaying of a former BREC commissioner, was declared capable to aid in his defense Thursday by a Baton Rouge judge who had earlier this year deemed him unable to do so.
State District Judge Trudy White found Sharpe competent to assist his attorneys after doctors at the state mental hospital in Jackson issued reports stating he is mentally fit to stand trial on a second-degree murder charge in the killing of 66-year-old Carroll Breeden in September 2017 in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Sharpe, 37, of Clinton, also is charged in East Feliciana Parish with second-degree murder in the fatal July 2017 shooting of Thomas Bass, 62, and first-degree murder in the shooting death of Brad DeFranceschi, 48, in October 2017.
Sharpe, who pleaded not guilty early last year in the Breeden killing, entered a dual plea Thursday of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.
“Not guilty by reason of insanity is a factual issue that the jury will decide,” Sharpe’s lead attorney, Tommy Damico, said after court.
Doctors have declared accused serial killer Ryan Sharpe mentally fit to stand trial, but his attorney said he’s considering an insanity defens…
White ordered three doctors to evaluate whether Sharpe was sane at the time of the alleged offense. Their reports are due May 7. The judge scheduled a status hearing for May 21.
Damico told reporters he disputes that Sharpe is competent to proceed or that he was sane at the time of the alleged crimes. Doctors have reported that Sharpe remembers nothing of the events that transpired within a 25-mile radius in the Clinton area during that four-month span.
Sharpe apparently has “no memory of his actions during this time frame,” Damico added.
“I need to know where he was, what he was doing when these acts allegedly occurred, and I can’t do that,” he said.
If a jury finds Sharpe not guilty by reason of insanity, Damico noted, he would be civilly committed and would not be subject to any criminal penalties.
Breeden’s son, Buzz Breeden, was asked about Sharpe’s plea as he left White’s courtroom with his mother and other family members.
“Kind of the next step. We’ll see,” he said.
Damico said no one should infer from Sharpe’s not guilty by reason of insanity plea that he is admitting any guilt.
“We’re not conceding that he committed the acts at all,” he stressed.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Sharpe’s not guilty by reason of insanity plea was not unexpected.
“We look forward to providing all of the information that is available for the mental health professionals to make the appropriate decision based on this information and their testing,” he said. “We will review the reports of these experts along with those that have already been filed and will make the appropriate response based on their findings.”
A man accused of killing three Clinton-area men last year told investigators he shot them because — as though he were deer hunting — he was "f…
Sharpe told investigators the killings were intended to fill hunting "tags" issued to him by the government, an East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office report states. Sharpe also said he had other tags that had not been filled when he was arrested in October 2017, the report says. He called police and identified himself as the shooter, authorities have said.
Sharpe also is charged with attempted first-degree murder in the September 2017 shooting of Buck Hornsby in East Feliciana.
All of Sharpe’s alleged victims were working or walking on their properties near the road when they were shot.