The case of a man who in 2012 plead guilty to predatory criminal sexual assault of a victim under the age 13 was reset for a status hearing. 66-year old Lloyd W. Merkley of Greenville made an appearance in Fayette County Court on Friday. With several matters still pending, the status hearing was reset for September 13 at 1pm. Merkley is back in Fayette Court after the 5th Appellate Court entered an order last May which vacated Merkley’s guilty plea and remanded the case back to Fayette County Court whom the Appellate court stated in its order “erred when it denied the defendant’s motion to appoint an expert to aid in determining whether a bona fide doubt existed regarding the defendant’s fitness to stand trial and the error resulted in a violation of the defendant’s right to due process.” In the order it explains that on September 24, 2012, Judge Alan Lolie asked Merkley’s defense counsel whether he believed there was a bona fide doubt as to Merkley’s ability to understand the matter and the court proceedings, to which counsel said he had a genuine doubt. However, after questioning Merkley, Judge Lolie stated he was “not convinced” a bona fide doubt existed and the defense motion to have a fitness evaluation completed on Merkley was denied. An order for a fitness evaluation was entered on June 9 of last year and after the court ordered on March 8 of this year for the evaluation report to be provided to the state within 15 days, that report was still not available at the end of June. That is one matter that will need to be complete before the case can continue. Merkley is now set to appear on September 13 at 1pm for the status hearing.
Story courtesy of Todd Stapleton at VandaliaRadio.com.