NASHUA — A city man accused of murdering his sister earlier this year has been deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Judge Diane Nicolosi of Hillsborough County Superior Court has ruled that Duane Rolfe, 65, is not presently competent to stand trial for the Jan. 19 killing of Judith Rolfe.
However, Nicolosi said Duane Rolfe’s competency could be restored within a year, according to court documents.
“The parties agree that there is a substantial likelihood that Mr. Rolfe can be restored to competency with appropriate medication and mental health treatment within 12 months,” says the ruling, which was issued on Wednesday.
It has been six months since Duane Rolfe allegedly beat his sister to death with an undisclosed object, causing injuries to her head and brain. The siblings shared a home at 8 Belmont St., and also operated McDonald’s kitchen shop in downtown Nashua for decades.
Dr. Philip Kinsler, a clinical and forensic psychologist, has diagnosed that Duane Rolfe was psychotic, or legally insane, at the time of the attack. According to court documents, Rolfe was likely suffering from schizophrenia or schizoaffective, a disorder that manifests itself in illogical, irrational and delusional behavior.
The state conducted its own mental evaluation on Rolfe to determine whether he is competent for trial. Dr. Albert Drukteinis, a clinical psychiatrist, performed the state’s evaluation, although that document has been sealed at the courthouse.
According to the judge’s most recent ruling, the state has conceded that it cannot meet its burden to show that Rolfe is presently competent to stand trial. “Although, in making this concession, the state does not agree in total with the opinions and conclusions of Dr. Kinsler,” says the judge’s ruling.
Since Rolfe has been deemed incompetent, his case will now move to probate court within the next month, according to court documents. A status hearing has already been scheduled for Feb. 27.
If the defense believes that Rolfe’s competency has been restored before the next hearing in eight months, it may inform the state to expedite the case, says court records. The scheduling of a restorability hearing may be requested by either party, according to the ruling.
Rolfe has been indicted on two alternative counts of murder. The first-degree murder charge alleges that Rolfe purposely caused the death of his sister by striking her repeatedly with an undisclosed blunt object, while the second-degree murder charge alleges that he recklessly caused her death by manifesting an extreme indifference to human life, says court documents.
So far, authorities have remained tight-lipped about the woman’s fatal beating.