Allen’s attorney not ruling out insanity defense in murder case

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 21, 2000

Attorneys are not ruling out an insanity defense in the case of a Natchez resident charged with the September 1999 murder of his father. Mark Allen is scheduled to stand trial Dec. 12 for the murder of James P.&160;Allen Sr., 74, at his residence on 106 Seargent S. Prentiss Drive.

Allen, who has a history of mental problems, appeared with his attorneys in Adams County Circuit Court Monday to present motions in his case.

Attorney Don Ogden described the matter as a &uot;double-prong&uot; case.

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&uot;The case will be tried on the basis of guilt and innocence,&uot; said Ogden, Allen’s court-appointed attorney, who added the case will also be tried on the basis of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Such a verdict is something a jury must decide, and an &uot;insanity defense is a pretty hard burden (to prove) historically in this state,&uot; said District Attorney Ronnie Harper.

Ogden also asked the court to reconsider whether Allen was competent to stand trial, but Adams County Circuit Court Judge Forrest &uot;Al&uot; Johnson denied the request for lack of evidence.

Based on an evaluation from the state hospital at Whitfield, &uot;the court finds that the defendant is competent to stand trial in this case,&uot; Johnson said.

More than a year ago, Allen allegedly shot his father twice in the head and cut his throat in the basement of his parents’ house.

After a nine-hour stand-off, officers used pepper spray to coax Allen out of the house. They later found the victim’s body under a pile of clothes on the basement floor.

During a spring evaluation, Whitfield staff said Allen has bipolar disorder, or manic depression.

Allen was probably experiencing mania during the crime, but he still can be held responsible for his actions, said a report from the hospital.

&uot;Mr. Allen was not so mentally ill at the time that he would not have know that it would be wrong to murder someone,&uot; the report said.

Last spring, Ogden petitioned the court for another mental evaluation for Allen, but the court did not grant the request.

In other motions filed Monday, Johnson also denied a request to fund an investigator to assist Ogden in the case.

But he granted a motion for the state to locate information on the case which the state did not have in its possession.

To support an insanity defense, Ogden requested a number of documents, including the names of jailers who monitored Allen the days immediately after his arrest.