A judge in East Feliciana ruled Tuesday that alleged serial killer Ryan Sharpe is not competent to stand trial, a decision that will halt criminal proceedings and transfer the 37-year-old from a jail cell to a psychiatric hospital. 

Reports from two doctors who evaluated Sharpe's mental capacity found that, at this time, he is unable to assist counsel, said his attorney, Tommy Damico. The doctors did not make a determination on Sharpe's mental status at the time of the crimes, Damico said. 

Sharpe is accused of killing three men and injuring another in four separate shootings in the Clinton area in East Feliciana and just across the parish line in East Baton Rouge over a four-month span beginning in July 2017. He was charged with first-degree murder in only one of the four shootings: the October 2017 homicide of Brad DeFranceschi, 48, outside his home on the Avondale Scout reservation in Clinton.

Sharpe was charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Tommy Bass, 62, outside his home and with attempted first-degree murder in another shooting that injured Buck Hornsby, both in East Feliciana Parish.

In East Baton Rouge Parish, Sharpe has been charged with second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 66-year-old Carroll Breeden.  

Damico said doctors are still evaluating Sharpe's sanity for the separate criminal proceedings in East Baton Rouge Parish and said that evaluation should be completed by next week.

"I certainly don't anticipate something different," Damico said, adding that he " wasn't surprised" by the East Feliciana medical findings.

Damico said it was clear early on that Sharpe's sanity would become an issue in the cases after watching Sharpe's statements to investigators. Damico, however, declined to comment further on the nature of Sharpe's statements. 

Damico said his team is looking into a possible brain injury that could have affected Sharpe, saying his client had a head injury within the last 10 years. Again, the attorney declined to give details. 

Authorities first identified Sharpe as a suspect in the crimes after he called the East Feliciana Parish Sheriff’s Office and admitted his role in the string of shootings. All four of the victims were middle-aged men and were targeted within a 25-mile radius. The last three had been near walking or working near the roadside when they were killed. 

Bass was found dead the morning of July 8, 2017, his body lying on the carport floor outside his La. 960 home. About two months later, Hornsby was shot while walking along the border of his property close to La. 63. A week later, Breeden was killed while spraying weeds in his front yard on Port Hudson-Pride Road. Then DeFranceschi was fatally shot Oct. 9, 2017, while trimming weeds outside his house on the Avondale Scout Reservation, also on La. 63.

East Feliciana District Attorney Sam D'Aquilla said his case against Sharpe is now on hold following the ruling. Doctors will continue to monitor and evaluate Sharpe at the Forensic Division of the Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System in Jackson.

"We can't do anything right now," D'Aquilla said. "When doctors say he's competent, then we'll start moving with the proceedings." 

Follow Grace Toohey on Twitter, @grace_2e.