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Deerfield man accused of murdering his sister requires competency hearing before possible November trial
A judge has scheduled a competency hearing for Jeffrey Cook, 56, of Deerfield who is charged for first- and second-degree for allegedly murdering his sister Sandra Griffin, 58, of North Carolina. The hearing could determine whether Cook goes on trial or is committed to a term at the state hospital. (Courtesy)
BRENTWOOD — Prosecutors have asked for a hearing to determine whether a Deerfield man is competent to stand trial for allegedly murdering his sister in November.
A state-hired doctor has completed an evaluation of Jeffrey Cook, 56, who is charged with first- and second-degree murder for allegedly killing Sandra Griffin, according to Associate Attorney General Jane Young.
Prosecutors have not divulged the findings of Dr. Albert Drukteinis, who evaluated Cook on Aug. 14.
The competency hearing will require prosecutors to either elicit testimony from Drukteinis, or discuss his findings with Judge Kenneth McHugh.
McHugh may then decide whether Cook will face trial — and the possibility of life in prison — or a term at New Hampshire Hospital.
If Cook is competent to stand trial, he will claim that he was insane at the time of the homicide, defense lawyers say.
That would require prosecutors to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Cook was sane when he allegedly killed Griffin on Nov. 9.
McHugh allowed defense lawyers to seek competency evaluations for Cook after he exhibited signs that he wasn't aware why he was in jail, according to court papers.
Defense lawyers told McHugh they had tried to meet with Cook several times at the county jail, but he remained largely uncooperative, and said that he did not recognize them or understand why they “keep bothering him,” court papers say.
“It is not known if Mr.áCookáunderstands why he is in jail,” defense lawyer Joseph Malfitani wrote.á
Cook was examined at Elliot Hospital in Manchester and diagnosed with a psychotic disorder just days before the alleged homicide — and has a history of “paranoid thinking and delusions,” according to Malfitani.á
Cook allegedly struck Griffin, 58, in the head multiple times with a baseball bat before dragging her behind his home and striking her again with a sledgehammer, prosecutors said.
McHugh set the competency hearing for Sept. 17.
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