Lawyers allude to competency defense in homicide caused by Metrobus hijacking

An attorney for Keith Loving, who allegedly crashed into a man after hijacking a city bus, alluded on Tuesday that the competency of his client could be called into question as the case moves forward.

According to police, in May 2016, Loving, 30, hijacked a metro bus and and crashed it into a gas station on Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue. During the crash, Loving struck Payne, who was an employee at the gas station. Payne died after succumbing to his injuries sustained during the collision.

Loving is currently being held without bond as he faces second-degree-murder charges.

A status hearing was called today because the defense failed to release all of Loving’s mental health records from St. Elizabeth Hospital.

According to Loving’s lawyers, they didn’t release the records in order to maintain their client’s right to privacy. The defense said the records may bring to light previous criminal activities Loving was involved in while at St. Elizabeth’s.

A part of the defense’s argument was based on allegations that St. Elizabeth’s records contained notes obtained while staff eavesdropped on Loving’s meetings with his lawyers, therefore breaching attorney/client privilege.

In response, the prosecution said their sole focus is determining Loving’s competency. All of Loving’s records are vital in providing context to weigh whether or not Loving is competent in his actions, they said.

Judge Jose Lopez ruled in favor of the prosecution and called for the release of all of Loving’s St. Elizabeth’s records. Judge Lopez also called for the redaction of all notes relating to dialogue between the defense and Loving, though he left it up to the prosecution and defense to figure out the method by which they would redact information.

The case is set to continue on April 7 for a mental observation hearing.

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