A man who has spent the eight years since his mother and stepfather’s murders in a state psychiatric hospital appeared Tuesday before a judge in Miller County, Ark.
Bronson Scoggins, 46, was arrested Aug. 15, 2008, and charged with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of his mother, Sandra Walsh, and stepfather, Al Walsh. Scoggins called 911 the afternoon of the killings and reportedly told a dispatcher he had “gotten them both,” according to a probable cause affidavit.
Scoggins, who has suffered from psychotic episodes most of his adult life, was found too incompetent to face charges by experts in 2008. Since then he has been involuntarily committed to the Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock.
At a hearing Tuesday before Circuit Judge Carlton Jones in Miller County, the court addressed a recent evaluation by Scoggins which determined he is now fit to proceed. The June 15 report states that Scoggins is capable of understanding the court process and of helping his lawyer, Jeff Harrelson of Texarkana, in preparing a defense to the eight-year-old charges.
The report also includes a finding that Scoggins was incapable of understanding that what he allegedly did to his mother and stepfather was wrong in August 2008 and that he was unable to conform his behavior to the law at that time.
According to the report, Scoggins has hopes of being found not guilty of the murders because of his disease. His current diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, according to the report on file in Miller County court records.
Jones scheduled Scoggins’ case for a hearing Sept. 13 after discussing the report with Harrelson and Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Black. Black said she intends to call witnesses, including the doctor who found Scoggins fit, at the hearing.
According to the report, Scoggins has been committed to the state hospital more than a dozen times. His past includes episodes of assault on others and behaviors which could cause himself harm.
Until then, Scoggins remains in the state hospital.