Judge OK's Delay In Prue Trial

prue updateST. JOHNSBURY - A judge has granted an attorney's request for more time in the murder trial of Patricia Prue.  An order filed Feb. 26 and signed by Judge Robert Bent will allow an extension in deadlines to give time for a psychiatric evaluation of Prue being performed by Dr. Philip Kinsler, a forensic psychologist from Lyme, NH.

According to court documents, the evaluation period will include multiple examinations and take approximately 6 weeks. Kinsler will then submit a report to Prue's attorney, Brian Marsicovetere, assessing her "mental state."

Kinsler said he would likely have his first meeting with Prue "towards the end of February."

The request for an evaluation and additional time comes almost 2 years after Prue's alleged involvement in the murder of Melissa Jenkins, a former teacher at St. Johnsbury Academy.

Judge Bent wrote that he didn't take the decision lightly.

"The Court is reluctant to extend the deadlines in this case because of the age of the case, the potential impact on the family of the victim of further delay, and public confidence in the process," Bent wrote. "The defense has not presented a compelling case as to why this work has not been completed sooner; however, in fairness to the defense, there are things which may require circumspection on counsel's part until he understands what Dr. Kinsler will say (or not say)."

Although Bent granted the motion for more time to allow for Kinsler's report, which must be filed by April 30, he said that the timely completion of Prue's trial is a priority.

"...the Court is mindful that should the Court deny this request and Ms. Prue be convicted, subsequently developed evidence may prove that such a defense was supported and the conviction could be subject to attack," Bent wrote. "The seriousness of the charge and the likely seriousness of the consequences to the Defendant if she were to be convicted, coupled with the need for a complete and effective defense-all issues of ultimate fairness-militate toward an investment of time now in the completeness of the proceedings, even if the Court is dissatisfied with the delay."

Patricia Prue is charged with first-degree murder, with her husband Allen, in the death of the former science teacher.


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