Judge Orders Competency Eval for Murder Defendant

DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun ordered an inpatient mental competency evaluation for a homicide defendant. 

Joseph Melton, 53, is charged with first-degree murder while armed, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intention to kill while armed, carrying a dangerous weapon outside a home or business with a prior felony, and possession of a prohibited weapon. Melton’s charges are in connection to a double-stabbing and murder of 48-year-old Kevin Chamberlain that occurred on Jan. 14, 2020. 

Melton’s competency was originally called into question during a May 20 hearing, where Judge Okun ordered an outpatient evaluation. The evaluation was ruled inconclusive because Melton refused to cooperate. 

Melton’s competency was questioned again in a June 23 hearing. Judge Okun denied a second request for a competency evaluation, partly due to the defendant’s refusal to participate. 

During the Aug. 3 hearing, Judge Okun ordered an inpatient mental competency evaluation without objection from either party. 

Judge Okun scheduled a mental observation hearing for Sept 7.