Lexington man ruled competent for trial in death of mother, found in Herbie container

Mark Cave
Mark Cave

A Lexington man charged with murder and tampering with evidence in the death of his mother was found competent Wednesday to stand trial.

Fayette Circuit Judge Kimberly Bunnell ruled that Mark Adam Cave, 28, understands the nature of the charges against him and can rationally participate in his defense.

Cave is accused of killing his mother, Sharon Cave-Howard, 54, and concealing her body in a Herbie trash container. Her decomposed body was found in the trash bin off Fortune Drive in February 2012. Relatives had reported her missing in late December 2011.

The coroner's office said Sharon Cave-Howard died from blunt-force trauma to the head.

During a 40-minute hearing, Dr. Amy Trivette, a forensic psychiatrist with Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in La Grange, testified that Cave is competent. The trial is scheduled to start May 6.

Trivette evaluated Cave during his stay at the center from Feb. 20 to April 3. She diagnosed Cave as having "polysubstance dependence" and as having "anti-social personality disorder," which she said is not considered a mental illness.

Cave displayed a good understanding of the court system, had a good relationship with his attorney and was rational in discussing the nature of the charges against him, Trivette said

Under cross-examination by public defender Brad Clark, Trivette said Cave had discussed using "bath salts" and synthetic marijuana.

The use of such synthetic drugs can cause patients to be "grossly disorganized" and agitated to the point of becoming violent and incoherent, Trivette said.

Bunnell read aloud a portion of Trivette's report in which Cave described taking his mother's Klonopin, a powerful sedative, plus cocaine, bath salts and "spice," or synthetic marijuana, "prior to the alleged incident," and then taking other drugs to counteract stimulants.

After Wednesday's session, Clark asked for a status hearing, which Bunnell scheduled for April 19. Clark did not comment on the reason for the status hearing.

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