By WILLIE GRAY
MOBILE — A man accused of committing one of the most gruesome mass murders in Alabama history has now filed court documents for a plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
It has been little more than a year since Derrick Dearman was arrested and charged for the brutal killing of six people west of Citronelle. With the trail set to begin in less than five months, Dearman’s attorneys filed the legal documents on his behalf on Monday.
Attorneys James Vollmer and Jason Darley, who represent Dearman in the case, filed the notice before the courts using Rule 15 of the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure, noting a special plea of not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.
According to court documents, Dearman will undergo a mental examination by a psychiatrist or psychologist who is under contract or employed by the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation on an out-patient basis. Doctors are expected to return a report to the courts with their determination as to whether Dearman has the “ability to assist in his defense, by consulting with counsel, with a reasonable degree or rational understanding of the facts and the legal procedures pending before the court and mental state at the time of the alleged offense(s).”
While there is no mention of when the examination report is expected to be returned to the courts, the legal documents do note there will be one of two rulings made by the doctors — Dearman could be found to have sufficient mental ability to assist in his defense or they can find that he lacks that ability.
According to court documents, Dearman is believed to have gone to a home on Jim Platt Road, west of Citronelle, on the morning of Aug. 21, 2016. Dearman is accused of making entry into the small wood frame home and using an axe and a firearm to kill five adults and the unborn child of one of the women.