RALEIGH, N.C. — A Wake County judge ruled last week that there will be no pre-trial hearing to determine if a Raleigh man charged with first-degree murder is mentally retarded.
Joseph Sanderlin, 26, was supposed to go on trial in April for the Nov. 8, 2005, slaying of Lauren Michele Redman, who was stabbed and cut more than 20 times inside her Raleigh apartment.
Sanderlin's attorneys, Tommy Manning and Terry Alford, filed a motion in January for the hearing so that their client's mental capacity could be assessed to determine whether he should face the death penalty.
Superior Court Judge Paul Gessner ruled there would be no hearing and set a new trial date for the week of Sept. 29.
If Sanderlin is convicted of first-degree murder, the issue of his mental capacity would come up during the sentencing phase of the trial.
Beside's Sanderlin's, there's only been one other case in Wake County in which mental retardation has been an in issue in a death penalty case – that of Antonio Davon Chance.
Chance, 31, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Wendell woman, Cynthia Moreland, in August 2006. His trial was set to begin in February A hearing on the mental retardation issue is set for Thursday.