Former Leon County Commissioner to Stand Trial

March 5, 2014
By Julie Montanaro

This week a judge ruled that former Leon County Commissioner Dan Winchester is competent to stand trial.

That trial is set for June 9th.

[UPDATE] 8.8.2012 by Julie Montanaro

A former Leon County commissioner facing more than a dozen felonies for assaulting his wife will not be standing trial anytime soon.

A judge has ruled Dan Winchester is once again mentally incompetent to stand trial. He'll be sent back to the state mental hospital in Chattahoochee.

May 4, 2011 by Julie Montanaro

A former Leon County commissioner is now set for trial as doctors deem him competent to proceed.

Dan Winchester faces more than a dozen felonies. He's accused of beating his wife and threatening her life. Soon he'll be making the trip from the psychaitric ward to the jail.

Winchester was not in court this afternoon, but he will soon be brought back to face charges of domestic battery, aggravated battery, sexually battery, and more for a series of assaults on his wife back in 2009.

A judge has just deemed him competent to stand trial.

"His competence is what allows us to proceed with all the things we need to do to get ready for trial. We can't really do anything with the criminal justice system until the defense understands the nature of the proceedings," prosecutor Georgia Capellman said after the hearing.

Attorneys stood before the judge Wednesday afternoon and based on two psychiatric reviews, all agreed Winchester was competent to proceed.

A trial date was set for October 10th.

The former county commissioner was arrested in 2009, his wife reporting he locked her in a shed, terrorized her with an iron pipe and on one occasion paced back in forth in front of the couple's bed with a gun in his hand, threatening to kill her.

The competency ruling comes almost nine months to the day after Winchester was sent to Florida State Hospital for treatment for bi-polar disorder. His attorney worries what months of waiting in jail will do to him and he's not ruling out an insanity defense.

"We believe the evidence will show during a time period he was suffering a severe mental illness, We may, I'm not saying we will, but we may include a possible insanity defense," said defense attorney Tim Jansen.

We have no word when Winchester will be transported from Florida State Hospital to the Leon County Jail, but an LCSO spokesman says it should happen within a week or so.

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