Competency hearing for Billie murder suspect pushed back

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NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A hearing to determine the competency of a man accused in the kidnapping and killing of Ashanti Billie has been pushed back.

Court docments filed on Wednesday show a federal judge in Norfolk granted a motion from the defense of Eric Brian Brown to move the hearing to March 27.

The hearing was originally set for Feb. 27, according to court records.

Brown’s attorneys filed an unopposed motion for the continuance last week because a psychiatrist who has been working with Brown will be unable to testify until March 27 at the earliest. The defense is planning to use this psychiatrist as an expert witness at the hearing.

Brown is charged in connection to the 2017 death of Billie.

The 19-year-old was found dead in Charlotte, North Carolina 11 days after she was reported missing from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

Authorities in North Carolina charged Brown with murder and kidnapping. A grand jury also charged him with assault resulting in serious bodily injury and theft. 

The federal kidnapping resulting in death charge against Brown carries with it a minimum sentence of life in prison and a maximum sentence of death.

Brown was declared incompetent to stand trial afer he was diagnosed in with schizophrenia in December 2017. He has been at the Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina since that time.

Brown’s attorneys filed a motion earlier this month to have him stay at the facility until the eve of the competency hearing.

Court documents from November cited an October report from a clinician who found that Brown was responding to treatment at Butner and has shown “slow yet consistent improvement in his mental status and behavioral functioning.”

A psychiatric report on Brown was filed in court on Jan. 3, but remains sealed.

Brown’s attorneys have been ordered to turn over expert testimony they plan to use no later than two weeks before the now re-scheduled hearing.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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