Book cleared for trial

Published 12:29 am Tuesday, August 28, 2007

NATCHEZ — A man charged with murdering two men is mentally capable of standing trial, according to the state hospital.

Kevin D. Book, 2811 Itasca Drive, was charged in August 2006 with shooting and killing two men in front of the In the Mix nightclub at 221 Homochitto St.

In February, a motion was filed for a mental evaluation from Mississippi State Hospital.

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The evaluation, filed Aug. 15, says two doctors interviewed Book for approximately an hour and 20 minutes. Book also received psychological testing.

“We are unanimous in our opinion that Mr. Book has the sufficient present ability to consult with his attorney and that he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the nature and object of the legal proceedings against him,” the report says.

The report points out previous diagnoses and treatments for schizophrenia and substance abuse.

The report is intended to give a professional opinion as to whether or not Book is able to stand trial, District Attorney Ronnie Harper said.

Tim Cotton, Book’s defense attorney, said the fact the state hospital voiced one opinion doesn’t solidify anything in a trial.

“It’s just a necessary step in our system,” Cotton said. “In Mississippi, insanity is a jury question. It’s for them to decide. No significance really needs to be attached to it.”

No one should draw conclusions from the single report, Cotton said.

If insanity is used as a defense, a jury must decide whether or not the defendant knew right from wrong at the time of the alleged crime.

Book’s trial had been postponed until his psychological evaluation results were in.

His trial will likely be set for November.