Ricciardi remains incompetent to stand trial for murder

Published 1:11 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2015

By Diana McFarland

         News editor

A judge ruled Thursday that David Ricciardi remains unable to stand trial for the February 2014 murder of Naira Davis of Smithfield.

After two psychologists testified that Ricciardi, 51, would likely remain incompetent now and into the future, Judge Jesse Demps ordered that he be committed to Central State Hospital and that his case come up for review again in a year.

Ricciardi suffers from a form of schizophrenia and delusions and has problems with rational understanding — a criteria needed to stand trial, according to the testimony of two psychologists who had evaluated the defendant. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Ricciardi was present for the hearing, which was held in Isle of Wight General District Court. He remained quiet through the proceedings and did not testify.

He was charged with first degree murder after allegedly beating Davis to death with a baseball bat in his mother’s home in Smithfield Forest. Ricciardi believed Davis was part of a racial conspiracy and spying network, according to an early psychological evaluation.

According to testimony, Ricciardi’s treatment consisted of several trials of drugs, including the anti-psychotic Clozaril, which had life-threatening side effects and is generally used as a medication of “last resort,” said Dr. Elizabeth Wheeler, one of the psychologists on the forensic evaluation team at Central State Hospital.

All treatments were unsuccessful, Wheeler said.

Ricciardi will remain hospitalized and his status will be reviewed every year for five years to see if he becomes competent to stand trial, said Isle of Wight County Commonwealth’s Attorney Georgette Phillips. If, after five years, Ricciardi remains incompetent, the charges will be dropped, but he will remain hospitalized, said Phillips.

However, because he is charged with a serious felony, the charges can be brought back to court if his status changes after that point, and meanwhile, the hospital is required to alert the court to any change in his condition that might indicate his is competent, she said.

If that happens, he will again be charged and begin the trial process, Phillips said.

“We will still have control over it,” she said.{/mprestriction}