By Joe Johnson
An Athens man who has been hospitalized in a state psychiatric facility since killing his brother and stabbing his mother over two years ago has been deemed competent to stand trial, according to documents recently filed in Clarke County Superior Court.
Despite the finding of competency by the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Western Judicial Circuit Judge Lisa Lott on Tuesday ordered 22-year-old Malachi Qaadir Dorns to remain in the custody of the DBHDD “for the immediate future.”
Also on Tuesday, Dorns’ defense attorney filed a notice of intent to raise the issue that Dorns was suffering from insanity or mental illness of mental illness on May 11,2018, when Athens-Clarke County police said he fatally stabbed his 29-year-old brother, Muniyr Gay, and stabbed his mother multiple times during a May 11, 2018, dispute at the family’s Cumberland Court home. Gail Dorns survived her injuries.
A Clarke County grand jury subsequently returned an indictment charging Dorns with malice and felony murder and two counts each of aggravated assault and possession of a knife during the commission of a felony.
In March 2019, Lott ordered Dorns to be sent to East Central Regional Hospital in Augusta for psychological evaluation and treatment.
The order came after doctors testified that they believed Dorns could be restored to mental competency through treatment.
However, during a hearing held in December, doctors testified that even though Dorns had been “compliant” with taking his medications and with his DBHDD treatment team, they determined that Dorns’ mental health had deteriorated.
The doctors testified that “such decompensation could be due to the severity of (Dorns’) mental illness…or just the biology of his disease,” the judge wrote in her order that was signed on Jan. 3.
Lott then ordered Dorns to be returned from the county jail to a DBHDD facility “to evaluate (Dorns) as to whether there is a substantial probability that he will attain mental competency to stand trial in the foreseeable future, and to initiate inpatient competency restoration of (Dorns) if appropriate.”
According to Lott’s order this week, Hildreth in March submitted a new evaluation in which he stated that Dorns, “had, via medications and competency education, been restored to competency.”
A hearing on the issue was held in September, when the state psychiatrist testified that during Dorns’ most recent evaluation, he “appeared to understand his rights, be familiar with the roles of the various parties who would participate in his trial, and to be knowledgeable regarding possible pleas, outcomes and options,” according to Lott’s order.
The judge agreed with the doctor that the county jail would not be a suitable environment for Dorns while a possible evaluation to determine his criminal responsibility for his crimes was pending, and ordered the defendant to remain in the custody of the DBHDD.