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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Weston found incompetent to stand trial for Capitol shooting

By Terry Frieden/CNN

April 22, 1999
Web posted at: 4:42 p.m. EDT (2042 GMT)

WASHINGTON (April 22) -- A federal judge in Washington ruled Thursday that the man charged with killing two U.S. Capitol police officers last July is incompetent to stand trial for the shooting rampage.

In an eight-page ruling U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan declared Russell Weston is unable to understand the charges against him.

"Russell Eugene Weston, Jr., presently suffers from a mental disease or defect that renders him incapable of understanding the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him and that precludes him from properly assisting in his defense," Sullivan wrote.

Weston is charged in a six-count indictment with the murders of U.S. Capitol police officers Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson, the attempted murder of a third officer, and three firearms violations.

Justice Department officials said Weston is being taken to Butner Correctional Institution, a large, secure federal medical facility in North Carolina, where he will be further evaluated.

Sullivan ordered officials to determine "whether there is a substantial probability in the foreseeable future that the defendant will attain the capacity to permit the trial to proceed."

The judge said Weston should be held in the medical facility for no longer than four months, and set a status hearing for September 9.

Weston, 42, allegedly gunned down officers Gibson and Chestnut in a corridor of the Capitol on July 24. He is still recovering from severe bullet wounds he received when police responded to the gunfire.

Weston was returned to the District of Columbia on March 2 for the competency hearing after refusing for a month to talk with psychiatrists at the Medical Facility for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.


Lawyers: Accused Capitol gunman may have broken arm (3-15-99)

Judge warns Capitol Hill shooting suspect (3-3-99)

Second psychiatric exam ordered for accused Capitol Hill shooter (1-28-99)

Capitol Hill shooting suspect makes court appearance (9-23-98)

Weston parents' grand jury testimony delayed (8-13-98)

Security camera captured Capitol shooting incident (7-31-98)

Capitol shooting suspect's lawyers want interview taped (7-30-98)

2 dead, 2 hurt in U.S. Capitol shooting (7-24-98)


House of Representatives



Thursday, April 22, 1999

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