- Associated Press - Sunday, April 17, 2016

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - In a story April 16 about a 78-year-old man being declared incompetent to stand trial, The Associated Press reported erroneously that a judge ordered Bobby Dean Pruitt be held in a mental hospital. The solicitor has 14 days from the date of the order, which was April 8, to initiate proceedings in probate court after which that court would decide whether Pruitt is held in a mental hospital.

A corrected version of the story is below:

78-year-old man awaiting murder trial declared incompetent

A 78-year-old man awaiting a murder trial for more than three years has been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - A 78-year-old Spartanburg County man who spent 12 years in prison for killing his estranged wife in 1961 has been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial for another murder charge filed against him three years ago.



Two evaluations found Bobby Dean Pruitt is not competent and a judge agreed earlier this month. A third evaluation was cancelled after Pruitt attacked the psychologist, the Herald-Journal of Spartanburg reported (https://bit.ly/1SRUt6S).

“Clear and convincing evidence was presented at the hearings that Mr. Pruitt currently lacks the mental capacity to stand trial, that he is unlikely to become competent in the foreseeable future, that he is mentally ill, that he is a danger to himself and others, and that he is (in) need (of) mental health services and should be involuntarily committed,” Circuit Judge Mark Hayes wrote in his order.

Prosecutors disputed the findings from the report, filed 17 months before the competency hearing on April 7.

“That’s one reason we went through the extra investigating,” Solicitor Barry Barnette said. “His prior murder conviction was a concern for us.”

The solicitor has 14 days from the date of the order, which was April 8, to initiate proceedings in probate court after which that court would decide whether Pruitt is held in a mental hospital.

Pruitt was already in jail on an assault charge in December 2012 when he confessed to killing Frank Ramsey, whose body was found eight months before with wounds to the head.

Pruitt has a long record, starting in 1955 when he was sentenced to four years in prison for breaking into a bank.

In April 1961, Pruitt shot and killed his estranged 16-year-old wife at a Spartanburg grill where she worked as a waitress. He was sentenced to life in prison, but was paroled after 12 years.

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