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Mental Patient Ruled Competent For Murder Trial

April 2, 1985

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) _ A patient who allegedly ran a business from a state mental hospital has been ordered to stand trial on a charge of first-degree murder in the 1976 slaying of his estranged wife.

Roger Re repeatedly had been ruled incompetent to stand trial in the case, telling psychiatrists he was ″Jesus Christ″ and that he couldn’t tell the difference between night and day.

But Superior Court Judge Joshua Martin agreed with a psychiatrist’s testimony Monday that Re had been faking it.

No date was set for the trial on charges stemming from the slaying of Jayne Griffin.

Re, 41, had been confined since 1978 to the Delaware State Hospital’s Comegys Building, which houses the criminally insane.

He escaped March 21 following the suspensions of three hospital administrators, whom the attorney general’s office said granted him special privileges.

Re turned himself in two days later and is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond at the Gander Hill prison on an escape charge.

The report from Attorney General Charles M. Oberly III alleged Re had virtually a free rein at the hospital and ran a business from the facility’s garage, selling and repairing cars. He had keys to buildings and had sex with a female employee, the report said.

During the competency hearing, Dr. Parke E. Dietz, a Virginia-based psychiatrist, testified Re was ″malingering.″

″It is known by most people as faking ... The voluntary production of symptoms used to avoid criminal prosecutions,″ said Dietz, who led the psychiatric team that evaluated John Hinckley Jr. after the assassination attempt against President Reagan.

J. Dallas Winslow, Re’s public defender, told the court he wanted his client to be found competent so he could go to trial. It is unknown what defense Winslow plans to use.

Dietz was the only witness called to the stand. He characterized Re as suffering from an anti-social personality disorder, but said it would not prevent his going to trial.

″The most likely explanation is he has been malingering, but that doesn’t rule out that he didn’t have a mental disorder in the past and one could be underlying now,″ Dietz said.

But from his observations during an interview with Re in November 1976, Dietz said Re’s answers to questions were ″absurd″ and did not fit any definition of mental illness.

Re told Dietz he was Jesus Christ during the interview, and also said one plus one equaled 11.

But Dietz said the attorney general’s report of Re’s activities at the hospital were not consistent with what he showed doctors who evaluated him.

″If his symptoms had been real, he could not have functioned at such a high level as indicated in the report,″ Dietz said. ″He would barely be able to find the garage, let alone work there, with the symptoms he displayed.″

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