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State psychologist says man mentally fit for Arkansas murder trial, but judge has questions


VAN BUREN, Arkansas — A psychologist says a man charged with killing a woman at a transient camp near Van Buren is mentally fit to stand trial for murder — but the judge in the case still has questions.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1NKggjj ) that State Hospital clinical psychologist Mark Peacock testified Friday that Rickey Dale Newman has a personality disorder, not mental illness. But Judge Gary Cottrell said the Arkansas Supreme Court has ruled Newman is mentally ill and evidence must show how his mental fitness was restored.

Cottrell said he will not issue a ruling until receiving additional reports.

Newman was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2001 murder of 46-year-old Marie Cholette. The state Supreme Court in 2014 ruled that Newman was mentally ill and ordered a new trial.

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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