A state psychologist opined that John Chad Griffin is mentally capable of standing trial.
Griffin, a 42-year-old former car salesman, is charged in the Jan. 16 shooting death of David Stewart at the 232 N. 13th St. home where Griffin had been renting a room. Griffin allegedly shot Stewart in the back of the head with a slug-loaded 20-gauge shotgun.
Griffin's arrest was made at the residence within minutes of police arrival; he was in his room when officers showed up, and arrested without incident. He remains incarcerated at the Clark County Detention Center on a $750,000 bond.
In April his attorney, public defender Timothy Beckham, filed and received a motion for a mental evaluation. The results of the two-hour evaluation that was conducted Aug. 1 were made public on Friday.
"At the time of the alleged conduct … [Griffin] did not have a mental disease and did not have a mental defect," Dr. Paul L. Deyoub, a forensic psychologist, wrote to Clark County Circuit Judge Robert McCallum.
Deyoub did diagnose Griffin with alcohol and polysubstance dependence, as well as a personality disorder. But those conditions aren't enough to keep Griffin from being tried. "He had the capacity for the culpable mental state, the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct, and the capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law," Deyoub wrote.
Prior to the shooting, Griffin and Stewart had been drinking whiskey together when, according to Griffin's recollection of the event, Stewart made a comment Griffin "did not like."
Stewart had been visiting his ex-wife at the time of the shooting and had planned on returning to his Little Rock home the next morning. Stewart's ex-wife and their juvenile son were inside the residence at the time of the shooting.
Griffin told the psychologist he blacked out, and that the only things he could remember from that evening were a gunshot, the smell of powder and laying in his bed. He said he also remembers screaming, then being told by police to get on the ground.
A jury trial has been set for the week of Sept. 16.