Accused Springdale murderer unfit for trial, doctors say

Posted: February 2, 2018 at 12:08 p.m.

Dustin Price, 28, Springdale, WASHCO, capital murder

FAYETTEVILLE -- A Springdale man accused of killing his mother and stepfather is not mentally fit to be tried, according to doctors at the Arkansas State Hospital.

Dustin Glenn Price, 29, is charged with two counts of capital murder, first-degree battery, residential burglary and terroristic threatening of a police officer, all felonies. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of third-degree assault. Price has pleaded not guilty.

Competency evaluation

An assessment of the ability of a defendant to understand and rationally participate in a court process. Competency to stand trial is generally determined via a pretrial evaluation of the defendant’s overall mental status and mental state at the time of the examination.

Source: Staff reports

Price was ordered to undergo a criminal responsibility examination at the State Hospital. Doctors there examined Price in early January. Their report, filed this week, concludes Price suffers from a mental disease, unspecified schizophrenia spectrum and another psychotic disorder. The report says Price is incapable of understanding the proceedings against him at this time and cannot assist with his defense.

"Now, there will be an order entered committing him to the State Hospital for them to restore his fitness, however long that takes," Prosecuting Attorney Matt Durrett said Friday. "Typically it's a 10-month process, but they keep trying indefinitely."

Price broke into his mother's home at 2306 Sandy St. about 2:30 a.m. Aug. 26, 2016, according to a news release from Springdale police. His mother, Theresa Hendershot, called 911 and said her son had stabbed her husband, Jim. When police arrived, they found the couple on the floor, unresponsive with stab wounds and blunt force trauma injuries.

Police said Theresa Hendershot, 47, died at her home. James Hendershot, 47, died at Northwest Medical Center-Springdale. Officers found a small knife and an aluminum bat, both covered in what appeared to be blood, according to an arrest report. After stabbing his parents, Price went to a boarding house at 902 Caudle Ave., where he stabbed and injured 52-year-old Daniel Teyhen, police said. Price was found later riding a mo-ped in Fayetteville and arrested without incident.

Price has a history of substance abuse and was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder in 2012 following a court-ordered examination, according to court documents. Schizoaffective disorder is a blend of typical schizophrenia symptoms and a mood disorder like depression or manic behavior, according to the Mayo Clinic and the National Alliance on Mental Health.

Court records show he has a history of criminal activity, including assault, battery and threatening, dating back to 2007. He was committed to the State Hospital more than once, and court records show he was last released in June, 2016. Price has been acquitted of criminal charges at least twice because of a mental disease or defect.

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While being held at the Washington County Jail on Dec. 23, 2016, Price is accused of stabbing a jailer with a homemade knife, causing injury. Price picked up charges of second-degree battery and possession of a weapon by an incarcerated person, both felonies.

NW News on 02/03/2018