Judge grants motion by prosecution, orders mental evaluation

Dec. 06, 2013 @ 06:48 PM

WARRENTON — Jeremiah Stephen Royster, charged with conspiring to murder Sgt. Terry Williams of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, will undergo psychiatric evaluation.

In Warren County Superior Court, Judge George Collins Jr. ordered the case continued to a final setting for motions and plea offers. He delayed the next hearing until March 10.

District Attorney Sam Currin, in motion documents to request the evaluation, questioned Royster’s capability to proceed as a defendant with proper understanding of the process and the legal consequences that could impact him.

In a signed narrative, Currin stated, “the defendant has no ability to cooperate with his lawyer since he is delusional.”

According to Royster’s attorney, Mani Dexter, interrogations conducted by Warren County deputies are questionable because Williams participated even though his interest in the case as a victim is personal.

As part of her motion for sharing of all evidence, Dexter asked for all documentation on sheriff’s office regulations, manuals and directives on conflict of interest and ethics issues, investigative procedures, policies and the interaction of victims.

In the signed motion narrative, she stated, “Many law enforcement agencies have policies against victims or witnesses participating in the investigations of their cases.”

Case files also include handwritten letters entered as signed by Royster. In a Nov. 4 letter, Royster asserts that Dexter is incapable of proceeding with his defense. He called her “passive and pliant,” which he added is “the surest path to defeat.”

Royster wants to lead his own defense. He called law enforcement corrupt, and labeled the philosophy of Sheriff Johnny Williams as “black supremacist politics.”

“Having legal representation in form, but not in substance, is equivalent to having no representation at all,” Dexter added. “I find solace in knowing for an absolute certainty that my defensive tongue will be unbought, unbossed and unbridled.”

Dexter, based in Chapel Hill, is Royster’s third appointed attorney.

Currin included with his motion a copy of an October 2011 involuntary commitment order against Royster that outlined findings by numerous doctors and health care professionals. According to those findings, Royster has been diagnosed on multiple occasions with mental illness.

The findings included determinations of Royster as suffering paranoid schizophrenia episodes with inter-episode residual symptoms, acute exacerbation, bipolar episodes, and chronic delusions that included humans turning into reptiles.

The evaluation is ordered to take place at the Central Regional Hospital in Butner.

In addition to Royster, 40-year-old Edwin McKinnley “Eddie” Wilson is charged in the case.

The 40-year-old Royster, of 815-A N. Main St., Warrenton, is charged on felony counts of conspiring with Wilson to commit first-degree murder and felony altering or destroying of evidence.

Royster and Wilson each remain jailed on $1 million bonds.


Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.