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Saturday, July 07, 2018 1:00 am

Judge told of murder defendant's mind

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

An Allen Superior Court judge is tasked for the second time in a decade with deciding whether a New Haven man is competent to stand trial.

Chad A. Ingram, 43, is charged with murder in the beating death of his mother in her home last year.

A psychologist testified Friday that Ingram is not competent, citing a 60-minute interview in March that was filled with strange responses to questions including whether Ingram understands the charges against him. Dr. Kevin Wieland said Ingram disregarded questions, instead rambling about “portal kids” and other nonsensical statements.

The answers indicate a mental illness that is unlikely to have been faked, he said.

“Typically, if someone is putting on the disorder they will not be able to continue 60 minutes of stream of thought,” Wieland said. “For Mr. Ingram, he did not break that line of thought.”

Another psychologist, Dr. David Lombard, testified he tried to interview Ingram, but Ingram would not cooperate.

Statements from psychologists Friday and the circumstances under which Ingram's competency are questioned are similar to a 2008 case in which he was convicted of beating a family member. Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull also handled that case.

Defense attorney John Bohdan has questioned his client's competency in court documents and said Friday that Ingram is unable or unwilling to communicate, echoing statements from Wieland.

Police said Heidi Colley, 61, was killed in November. Her naked body, covered in bruises, was found in a bedroom at her home on Sherbrook Drive.

Ingram was drinking inside the home when police arrived, according to a probable cause affidavit, and said he didn't know his mother was home. He was charged with murder in January, after preliminary charges of domestic battery expired.

Bohdan filed paperwork in February asking Gull to assign doctors to evaluate Ingram. The request was approved days later.

In the 2008 case, Ingram was charged with beating his stepfather with an item – likely a golf club, according to court documents – in the home Kenneth Colley shared with Ingram's mother. The attack left Kenneth Colley with broken cheekbones, a fractured skull and damage to his eardrums, prosecutors said.

Ingram asked for a psychiatric evaluation but later refused to cooperate and said in court hearings he would not allow doctors to examine him. The battery case went to trial after Gull explained why the evaluation was necessary and told Ingram he had waived the right to be examined because he did not cooperate with doctors. 

She also referred to statements Ingram made in court that he “will continue to remain incommunicative, not only with the doctors but with your attorney.”

A jury convicted Ingram and he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Ingram appealed, but the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the conviction and Gull's finding that he knowingly waived his right to a psychiatric examination.

Gull, who did not make a decision Friday on competency in the murder case, said she will review the earlier case before issuing a ruling.

Wieland said Ingram was manic and delusional throughout the interview in March. Medication could help the disorders, he said.

Ingram's trial is scheduled for Sept. 11.

If he is ruled incompetent to stand trial, Ingram likely would be sent to a state hospital for treatment. If he is deemed competent by doctors after treatment, he could be returned to Allen County and the case against him would continue.  

mleblanc@jg.net