Court concurs with medical finding, suspect competent to stand trialBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Sunday News Correspondent
November 24. 2012 10:22PM
NASHUA - Less than a month after a medical expert deemed an alleged Nashua murderer competent to stand trial, a superior court judge has issued the same conclusion.
Judge Jacalyn Colburn of the Hillsborough County Superior Court recently ruled that Brandon Nye, who was previously diagnosed with schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, understands court proceeding well enough to assist his attorneys throughout his upcoming murder trial.
Nye, 21, of Nashua, is accused of stabbing to death Brandon Gaudette, 21, more than two years ago at the Nashua home of Nye's ex-girlfriend. At the time, Gaudette was reportedly dating the young woman, Erin Allwood.
Nye's competency has been in question since his arrest just hours after the murder. Last month during a competency hearing, Dr. Daniel Comiskey, chief forensic psychiatrist for the Secure Psychiatric Unit, told the court that Nye was remorseful for his role in the death, saying Nye frequently suffers from nightmares, or flashbacks, of the crime on Aug. 23, 2010.
"Dr. Comiskey specified that he has never had any concern that (Nye) suffers from any cognitive impairment or psychosis, or that he is disoriented," Colburn wrote in her ruling. "In fact, he testified that (Nye) thinks logically, is well-oriented to his legal situation and has a rational and emotional appreciation for the dramatic change in his life circumstances."
As a child, Nye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and following a series of undisclosed traumatic events in his childhood, he was then diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Comiskey, who testified that Nye was later categorized as a schizophrenic during evaluations at the state's Secure Psychiatric Unit last summer.
Despite these findings, Colburn noted in her ruling that the medical expert has no concerns the diagnosis interferes with Nye's current ability to assist his attorneys.
"Based on Dr. Comiskey's findings and conclusions reflected in his reports and his testimony, the court finds that the state has satisfied its burden of demonstrating that the defendant is competent to stand trial," Colburn wrote in her motion.
While Nye's hallucinations have not completely disappeared, Comiskey previously told the court that they have reduced in severity and intensity following months of treatment.
Nye will now face trial sometime in early 2013 on one charge of first-degree murder and two alternative counts of second-degree murder for allegedly stabbing Gaudette in the chest more than once with a knife.
Nye's public defender, Edward Cross, said previously that Nye's "overwhelming sense of remorse" could prohibit his ability to adequately participate in the trial and make decisions that are in his best interest.
In addition, Cross maintains that Nye's post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms could be exacerbated during the trial, increasing his chance of suicidal thoughts.
This past summer, Gaudette's mother, Cindy Gaudette, told the New Hampshire Union Leader that her son and Allwood alleged they were both receiving threatening phone calls and texts from Nye in the nine months prior to the murder.
She said Nye arrived at Allwood's residence on Aug. 23, 2010, allegedly coming after both of them.
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Kimberly Houghton may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.