BRENTWOOD — A state psychiatrist has determined that a man charged in the 2001 Auburn killing of George Jodoin is competent to stand trial on murder charges, but his public defenders will still get a chance to contest the finding, a judge said.
The competency evaluation for Arthur Collins, 45, may clear the way for him to go on trial later this year in Rockingham County Superior Court on charges of first- and second-degree murder. Collins is accused of shooting Jodoin on the night of on Dec. 26, 2001, as he slept in bed at his Auburn farmhouse.
Collins was expected to go on trial last fall, but public defenders questioned his competency to stand trial.
In April 2010, Collins was diagnosed with psychological and behavioral abnormalities associated with dysfunction of the brain, according to the defense.
Judge Kenneth McHugh said in a court order that Dr. Daniel Comiskey reached his conclusion about Collins' mental competency on March 6.
McHugh gave public defenders until July 1 to have their psychiatrist review the state's findings, meet with Collins and then tell the defense whether he agrees with Comiskey's finding.
If the two psychiatrists disagree about Collins' competency — or, rather his ability to participate in his own defense — then the decision would ultimately be left to McHugh.
The judge would hear testimony from Comiskey and the defense's psychiatrist, Dr. Philip Kinsler, and legal arguments before making a decision.
Collins was arrested in May 2012. A pair of investigators with the state's Cold Case Unit took up the decade-old unsolved murder. Jodoin owned and operated Mr. I Buy And Sell Everything located on Manchester's west side.
State prosecutors have said that Collins, who worked as a handyman for Jodoin, took steps to destroy the murder weapon and became a cooperating witness in the renewed investigation before becoming the main suspect.
Collins allegedly told investigators that he put the murder weapon — a Ruger Redhawk .44 magnum owned by Jodoin — inside a tire well in the trunk of a junk car. He then filled the vehicle with metal and car parts and had it towed to Advance Recycling in Manchester, where it was sold for scrap metal, according to court records.
Once the renewed investigation was underway, Collins made two recorded phone calls monitored by investigators to another suspect, according to prosecutors.
Collins is being held without bail at Rockingham County Jail. He faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if he is convicted of first-degree murder.