LIMA — Two state-certified forensic psychologists offered vastly differing opinions in court Thursday of the competency of a Tennessee man to stand trial for the 2017 murder of a Lima man.
Dr. Kara Marciani, a psychologist at the Forensic Psychiatry Center for Western Ohio in Dayton, interviewed Clois Ray Adkins on two separate occasions. As a witness for the state, she testified Thursday that her evaluations found Adkins to be admittedly prone to substantial mood swings and to at times exhibit traits associated with depression, but in the final analysis she determined Adkins to be “without significant (mental) impairments and able to adequately assist in his defense” should the case go to trial.
A psychologist retained by Adkins’ court-appointed attorney also interviewed the defendant on two occasions. Dr. Bob Stinson of Stinson and Associates Inc., Columbus, testified that the murder suspect “has a severe mental illness” and is not presently able to assist in his defense. Stinson said Adkins had been “unstable, impulsive, easily upset and couldn’t take direction” during his evaluations and was therefore unable to assist in his own defense. The psychologist, however, left open the possibility that the Tennessee man could be restored to competency after a period of institutional supervision.
“What we have here are two experts — both extremely qualified — that just don’t agree,” said Steve Chamberlain, Adkins’ appointed legal counsel. “My request is that the court should follow Dr. Stinson’s opinion that the defendant is not competent to stand trial but is potentially restorable. The court should err on the side of caution and have my client placed in an institution for closer evaluation.”
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Thines disagreed, saying, “The burden is on the defendant to prove he is not competent, and that burden has not been met. Dr. Marciani believes he exhibits no mental illness and we ask the court to take that into consideration and rule the defendant is competent to stand trial.”
Adkins was indicted in October 2017 by an Allen County grand jury on two counts of murder and two counts of felonious assault in connection with the death of Robert Smith II, 22, of Lima.
Officers from the Lima Police Department were dispatched to the area of Holmes and Milburn avenues shortly before 8 p.m. Sept, 3, 2017, in response to the report of a fight. Police said Adkins was armed with a large tree limb during the altercation and struck Smith in the head one time with the limb. Smith was taken to St. Rita’s Medical Center with traumatic head injuries and died the following day.
Multiple witnesses reportedly identified the defendant, and the assault was captured on a cellphone video. During a subsequent interview with investigators, Adkins reportedly admitted striking Smith with the tree limb, according to court documents.
Adkins is originally from Knoxville, Tennessee, and had come to Lima just two days before the incident, police said.