Reversing a ruling he made in 2009, a federal judge Monday declared Guy Neighbors, an owner of the former Yellow House Store in Lawrence, mentally competent to stand trial in the three cases he faces.
U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia Monday afternoon followed a recommendation from prosecutors and the defense attorney to declare Neighbors competent for trial after a second psychiatrist had recently evaluated Neighbors and disagreed with the 2009 findings of a Bureau of Prisons psychiatrist. In the new evaluation, Dr. John H. Wisner of Kansas University Hospital found that Neighbors did not suffer from a mental disease or defect and that he could both understand the charges against him and assist in his defense.
In the main case, federal prosecutors accuse Neighbors, 53, of selling stolen goods from the former secondhand store, 1904 Mass. His wife, Carrie Neighbors, 50, in January was sentenced to serve eight years in prison after a jury convicted her in the case. She is appealing the verdict.
Gary Hart, a defense attorney for Guy Neighbors, has also asked that his client be released from custody on bond pending his trial, and Murguia has scheduled a Sept. 6 hearing on that issue.