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Psychiatrist: Wilkinson is Depressed, But Not Incompetent

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Philip Wilkinson
FAYETTEVILLE — Philip Wilkinson narrowly escapedexecutionbecause he said he wanted to die. Now, his pleas for life may put him backon death row.

Wilkinson, a convicted murderer, spent Thursday morning in front of aCumberland County Superior Court judge at a hearing todetermine his mental competency. Apsychiatrist took the stand saying he had interviewed Wilkinson threetimes in April. In those interviews, he said he found that Wilkinson wassuffering from depression, but that it did not keep him from makingrational decisions or from knowing his options.

That would have been enough to send him back to death row, butWilkinson and his lawyers announced that he now wants to fight the deathpenalty.

Family and friends of the victims, Judy Hudson and her two children,say they were not surprised by thismove, but were disappointed. Monika Johnson, a friend of Hudson, saidshe has very mixed feelings.

Hudson and her children were beaten to death with a bowling pin.Wilkinson came forward years ago confessing to the crime. Up until lastmonth, he said he wanted to die for it.

Thursday, Judge Gregory Weeks gave Wilkinson another 90 days to arrangefor adeath penalty appeal.

State Attorney Tommy Hicks says he thinks the judge was fair.

Johnson says she thinks the judge took any possible chance of peaceaway from Hudson's family.

Wilkinson and his defense team now have 90 days to file an appeal withthe court system. At that time, the court will decide whether or not hewill get another stay of execution.

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