Youngstown murder suspect causes court disruption

Lance Hundley is charged with killing Erika Huff last November

Lance Hundley is charged with killing Erika Huff last November.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A Youngstown murder suspect will be taken to a maximum security mental health facility following a heated outburst in court Wednesday morning.

Lance Hundley faces capital murder charges in the beating death of Erika Huff last November. Prosecutors say Hundley also beat the victim’s mother and then set fire to her house to cover up his crimes.

It took only a few minutes for Hundley’s temper to boil over in court after one of his lawyers told Judge Maureen Sweeney that his client refused to be examined over the weekend.

“The issue has to be resolved. It cannot be abandoned, I think we all know that. I am having some trouble convincing Mr. Hundley of that,” said Attorney John Juhasz.

Ever since his indictment, Hundley has gone through a number of lawyers after they initially filed a “not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity” plea, something the defendant has repeatedly said he doesn’t want. To withdraw the insanity defense, experts must show he is competent to stand trial.

Although one competency evaluation determined Hundley is able to stand trial, Judge Sweeney had ordered a second examination. The defendant refused to take that competency test last weekend, prompting a loud outburst.

Several times during Wednesday’s brief hearing, deputies had to restrain Hundley and warn him to lower his voice.

“You people trying to make me do things,” Hundley said. “You are trying to make me do things that I don’t want to do.”

At one point, Hundley also complained about being given medication he didn’t ask for. Deputies say the pills are for allergies.

“You are setting me up for failure,” he said.

Although Hundley told the judge he won’t go along with the evaluation, the judge said he will have to remain at a maximum security facility in Columbus until he does. If he is ultimately deemed competent and put on trial, Hundley could face the death penalty if convicted.

Comments are closed.