A D.C. man charged with first-degree murder while armed in the February 2012 stabbing death of transgender woman Deoni JaParker Jones plans to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, his lawyers told a D.C. Superior Court judge on Dec. 12.
Court records show that Judge Robert E. Morin responded by directing attorneys representing Gary Montgomery, 58, to work with prosecutors to draft a proposed order asking St. Elizabeth’s Hospital to conduct a competency examination of Montgomery, the fourth such examination he has undergone since the time of his arrest two weeks after the murder took place.
He has been held at St. Elizabeth’s, a city-run psychiatric hospital, since shortly after his arrest. In a development that has troubled LGBT activists and Jones’ family members, two previous competency exams found Montgomery competent to stand trial. Last year, Morin, based on the earlier findings, scheduled a trial for Montgomery to begin April 4 of this year.
But the judge cancelled the trial date last December after yet another competency exam found that Montgomery was not competent to stand trial.
The court hearing last Friday, Dec. 12, marked the first time the defense in the case indicated it would formally file an insanity plea on Montgomery’s behalf.
Morin scheduled another mental observation hearing for March 6 to assess the findings of the latest competency exam to be conducted at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
According to D.C. police and prosecutors, Montgomery allegedly stabbed Jones in the head as she stood at a bus stop near her home at East Capitol Street and Sycamore Road, N.E. The incident shocked members of the LGBT community who organized vigils at the site of the stabbing and called for greater efforts to curtail hatred and bias toward transgender people.
The United States Attorney’s office, which is prosecuting the case, said insufficient evidence existed to classify the killing as a hate crime, a decision disputed by Jones’ stepfather, Alvin Bethea.