Wapakoneta arson suspect ruled competent to stand trial


By J Swygart - jswygart@limanews.com



Wesley Slaughter, pictured with attorney Gerald Siesel, appeared in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for a hearing to determine his fitness to stand trial on charges of aggravated arson in connection with a December fire at a downtown Wapakoneta landmark. Based on two separate psychological reports, Judge Frederick Pepple ruled Slaughter was competent.

Wesley Slaughter, pictured with attorney Gerald Siesel, appeared in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for a hearing to determine his fitness to stand trial on charges of aggravated arson in connection with a December fire at a downtown Wapakoneta landmark. Based on two separate psychological reports, Judge Frederick Pepple ruled Slaughter was competent.


J Swygart | The Lima News

WAPAKONETA — Two psychologists ruled a 20-year-old Wapakoneta man charged with aggravated arson in connection with a December fire at a Wapakoneta landmark building is competent to stand trial.

That trial will not begin anytime soon, however, after Wesley Slaughter on Wednesday voluntarily waived his constitutional right to have his case heard quickly in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court.

Slaughter, through his court-appointed attorney, Gerald Siesel, in January entered pleas of not guilty by reason of insanity to four first-degree felony counts of aggravated arson and one second-degree felony charge of aggravated arson returned against him by a grand jury.

A competency hearing for Slaughter was held Wednesday in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court to review the second of two psychiatric evaluations to determine the Wapakoneta man’s ability to assist in his own defense at trial.

The first evaluation, performed at the Psychiatry Center for Western Ohio in Dayton in January, determined Slaughter was competent, prompting Siesel to request a second, independent evaluation.

A second examination was ordered by Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Judge Frederick Pepple, and a private firm in Columbus reached a conclusion that mirrored the earlier findings.

After Slaughter on Wednesday waived his right to a speedy trial, attorneys and the judge discussed the upcoming schedule for the case. The judge approved a defense motion to extend the deadline for filing all pre-trial motions until May 24. A status conference was tentatively scheduled for the final week of May.

No trial date has been set for Slaughter at this time.

Wapakoneta firefighters were dispatched shortly after 11 p.m. Dec. 23 to a structure at 1 Perry St. in downtown Wapakoneta, which housed two dozen occupants. Upon their arrival, firefighters found smoke coming from several windows of the building and flames coming from an apartment on the front of the structure.

The occupants of the motel portion of the building were exiting the structure upon firefighters’ arrival, and all were able to escape safely.

By the afternoon of Dec. 24, Slaughter, a resident of the building, was arrested and charged with arson.

The structure had stood in downtown Wapakoneta since 1898.

Pepple in January ordered a continuation of the $1 million bond for Slaughter.

Wesley Slaughter, pictured with attorney Gerald Siesel, appeared in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for a hearing to determine his fitness to stand trial on charges of aggravated arson in connection with a December fire at a downtown Wapakoneta landmark. Based on two separate psychological reports, Judge Frederick Pepple ruled Slaughter was competent.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2019/04/web1_Wes-Slaughter-competent.jpgWesley Slaughter, pictured with attorney Gerald Siesel, appeared in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court Wednesday for a hearing to determine his fitness to stand trial on charges of aggravated arson in connection with a December fire at a downtown Wapakoneta landmark. Based on two separate psychological reports, Judge Frederick Pepple ruled Slaughter was competent. J Swygart | The Lima News

By J Swygart

jswygart@limanews.com

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