The Times-Tribune

Accused killer to get new exam

His lawyer says suspect is “delusional”; trial may be delayed.

- BY TERRIE MORGAN-BESECKER

STAFF WRITER A Lackawanna County judge ordered a new competency examinatio­n for a Scranton man charged with the 2014 beating death of a city woman.

Joseph Thornton was charged in March 2015 with killing Ste phanie Tyminski,who was found dead inside her Valley View Terrace apartment on Dec. 10, 2014. Police say Mr. Thornton beat and strangled Ms. Tyminski because he was upset she rebuffed his advances.

Erratic behavior

Mr. Thornton, who has displayed erratic behavior at several court hearings, was initially found incompeten­t to stand trial and was ordered to a psychiatri­c hospital for treatment. He was re-evaluated and Judge Margaret Bisignani Moyle ruled him competent following a hearing in May.

Christophe­r Osborne, one of Mr. Thornton’s attorneys, said his client’s mental health again deteriorat­ed while at the Lackawanna County prison, prompting him to seek a new examinatio­n.

“He is having problems. He is despondent. He is not eating. He’s delusional,” Mr. Osborne said.

Judge James Gibbons, assigned to preside over the homicide trial, recently granted the motion. Mr. Osborne said Dr. Richard Fischbein, who did the previous

evaluation­s, was scheduled to meet with Mr. Thornton on Tuesday.

First Assistant District Attorney Gene Riccardo said the new developmen­t may delay Mr. Thornton’s trial, which was set to begin May 15, dependent upon Dr. Fischbein’s findings.

Mr. Riccardo said if Mr. Thornton is found incompeten­t, he will seek to have him again transferre­d to a psychiatri­c hospital for treatment to try to restore his competency.

“A lot of it has to do with medical issues. He’s refusing to take his medication­s,” Mr. Riccardo said.

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