A Fayette Circuit Court judge ruled Wednesday a woman accused of throwing a brick through a window and hitting a man in the head is competent to stand trial.
Melissa Mondelli, 29, is charged with second-degree manslaughter in the 2009 death of Thomas E. Reynolds, 76.
In January 2009, Reynolds called police from his East High Street apartment and said Mondelli was trying to break into his home. When officers arrived, they found Reynolds "with a serious head wound and a brick next to him," according to a police citation filed in Fayette Circuit Court.
"When interviewed, Mondelli admitted to throwing a brick through the window," the document said.
She was indicted on a charge of second-degree assault in April 2009. In November of that year, a grand jury indicted her on the second-degree manslaughter charge.
Reynolds died of blunt-force trauma injuries in June 2009, according to police records.
At a competency hearing Wednesday, a doctor from the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange said he believed Mondelli was competent to stand trial, though he noted she suffered from a mood disorder and significant "depressive symptoms."
Dr. Timothy Allen testified Mondelli was also suffering "bereavement issues" because of the recent death of her stepfather and being separated from her children while being held at the Fayette County Detention Center. Those factors possibly made her depression worse, he said.
"Despite that, she had a good understanding of the legal situation she's facing," Allen said.
Defense attorney Bonnie Potter questioned Allen extensively about how long and how often he spoke with Mondelli, which tests he ran on her and whether he had reviewed her medical history.
Allen said he had spoken with Mondelli once for about an hour and a half during a visit to the Fayette County jail. He did not run any tests and had not viewed any medical records.
"You did note that she had significant psychiatric history in your report, but all that information just came from speaking with her. You did not review any of the records from her prior doctors," Potter said.
"Correct," Allen replied.
But Allen said there was nothing out of the ordinary that would warrant further diagnoses. He said Mondelli interacted well with other inmates and jail officers, she was not trying to harm herself, and she had a good understanding of her history, including drug abuse problems in the past.
"The goal of my assessment is not necessarily what the diagnoses have been in the past, but how she's functioning right now," Allen said.
After Allen left the stand, Potter told Judge Ernesto Scorsone that Mondelli couldn't participate fully. She had cried through entire meetings with her lawyers, Potter said, and was having problems with medications prescribed by the jail.
But Scorsone ultimately ruled Mondelli competent, saying evidence had not been submitted to support Potter's claims.
"I can only rule on what's presented in front of me," Scorsone said. "The only evidence that's been presented to me has been the expert testimony of Dr. Allen."
Scorsone set a status hearing for Friday to determine a trial date.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article initially gave the wrong name for the judge who ruled Melissa Mondelli competent to stand trial. Fayette Circuit Court Judge Ernesto Scorsone is handling Mondelli’s case. The correction was made at 6:51 p.m. Dec. 16.