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Sanity question is stalling his trial

A man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend has refused to meet with a doctor the court appointed.

By TAMARA EL-KHOURY
Published July 25, 2006


OLDSMAR - To stand trial on a first-degree murder charge, Carl Edward Roland must be deemed competent.

The task is proving more difficult than anticipated.

Roland, 42, of Clearwater is accused of strangling his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer L. Gonzalez, and leaving her body in a retention pond at her Oldsmar apartment complex in May 2005.

By the time a warrant was out for his arrest, Roland was in Atlanta, perched 25 stories up atop a construction crane over a busy street. It took authorities 56 hours to coax him down.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys met with Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Tim Peters on Monday but couldn't settle the question of Roland's mental status.

Roland has balked at meeting with a doctor appointed by the court to examine him.

Defense attorney Ron Eide said Roland refused to talk to the doctor because no private room was available. Eide said Roland's "mental illness is impacting his willingness to cooperate."

A psychologist hired by the Public Defender's Office and a court-appointed psychologist have said Roland is incompetent.

But a second court-appointed doctor said he could not reach a conclusion on Roland's competency because Roland refused to be interviewed.

On Monday, Peters said he was going to issue an order for the doctor to see Roland again.

Another hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 21.

[Last modified July 25, 2006, 01:16:12]


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