CLEARFIELD – A local man accused of striking and killing a woman while she was doing her yard work in DuBois in 2015 will undergo a mental health evaluation before his trial.
Joshua Jeffrey Nelson, 32, left Penn Highlands Hospital and then walked to the Brown Street area in DuBois on Aug. 12, 2015.
There, he allegedly stole a vehicle and struck a woman while she was doing her yard work. After that, he allegedly assaulted two women at another home in the same neighborhood.
Nelson will stand trial on charges of criminal homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, burglary, resisting arrest, theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property, driving with a suspended license and reckless driving.
On Monday morning, Assistant District Attorney Jendi Schwab requested that Nelson undergo a mental health evaluation with the commonwealth’s own expert. She said the defense intends to argue at trial that Nelson has a “diminished capacity.”
Schwab said the commonwealth has the right to have its own expert evaluate Nelson. Nelson’s defense attorney Mike Marshall of the public defender’s office didn’t object saying the commonwealth was “entitled” to it under law.
When asked by Judge Paul E. Cherry, Nelson said he intended to cooperate fully with the commonwealth and provide it with whatever information it was looking for.
Nelson also indicated he understood that if he failed to cooperate, he would face sanctions to be determined by the court and it would also preclude him from using a mental health defense at his trial.
Cherry ordered for the commonwealth to provide its expert’s name to the defense within 10 days. He said it must turn over the written report from the mental health evaluation by Jan. 15.
Marshall requested permission to be present during the evaluation by the commonwealth’s expert. Schwab said it would be OK, so long as there wasn’t any interference on his part.
Nelson has been incarcerated on a probation violation since the time of the incident, according to previously published GANT News reports.
Cherry said the mental health evaluation will not cause any further delay of Nelson’s trial. His trial has been scheduled for Jan. 29 through Feb. 2 in Clearfield County Court.
For more on the Nelson case, please click here to read previous news coverage.