An 87-year-old Winston-Salem man accused of killing his neighbor and one of her dogs does not have the mental capacity to stand trial, according to court documents.
Hermon Lowell Aycoth is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Karla Ragsdale Essick, 54. Winston-Salem police said the shooting happened about 7:20 a.m. July 15 in the 200 block of Cool Springs Road.
Winston-Salem police Lt. Greg Dorn said officers responded to 911 calls about a shooting and officers arrived to find Essick dead. Essick's grandson was in the house at the time of the shooting.
Police said Aycoth was still on the scene when officers arrived and was taken into custody without incident. Aycoth and Essick, 54, had lived across from each for years in the city's southeast. Police had no reports of any ongoing disputes between the two.
An order filed Sept. 2 said Katyoun Tabrizi, a licensed forensic psychiatrist, evaluated Aycoth for capacity. In Tabrizi's written opinion, Aycoth "lacks capacity to proceed and is unlikely to recover capacity," according to the order, signed by District Court Judge Lisa Menefee.
In a motion and order, Paul James, Aycoth's attorney, wrote that Tabrizi determined Aycoth suffered from dementia "with significant cognitive defects and is therefore incapable to proceed and unlikely to recover capacity to proceed."
Aycoth has been transferred to Central Regional Hospital for further evaluation. The court would hold a capacity hearing if staff at Central Regional Hospital determine that Aycoth isn't capable of proceeding to trial.
Essick worked as an infusion nurse at Optum Fusion and Advanced Nursing Solutions, according to her Facebook and LinkedIn pages. Records indicate that she also worked at Cedar Creek Family Medicine.
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