Judge: Teen driver not competent to face charges from fatal crash

Attorney George Cosenza, left, appears in Washington County Common Pleas Court Wednesday with his client Kaitlyn Barton, right, who stands accused of vehicular homicide.

JANELLE 
PATTERSON   The Marietta Times

Attorney George Cosenza, left, appears in Washington County Common Pleas Court Wednesday with his client Kaitlyn Barton, right, who stands accused of vehicular homicide. JANELLE PATTERSON The Marietta Times

The Marietta teen accused of vehicular homicide while driving drunk and under a license suspension was found not competent to stand trial Wednesday.

Kaitlyn G. Barton, 19, of 101 Stonecrest Drive, faces multiple charges related to the death of Chad Matthew Cokeley, 24, of Parkersburg, who died April 23 after suffering a broken neck in the single-vehicle wreck on Glendale Extension while Barton was driving.

Barton was indicted in August for aggravated vehicular homicide, a first-degree felony, aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony, driving under OVI suspension, a first-degree misdemeanor and operation while under the influence of alcohol, a first-degree misdemeanor.

But while she is considered able to understand the proceedings of trial, due to the brain injuries she sustained in the accident Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi ruled based on a forensic diagnostics report that Barton needed treatment before being able to participate in her defense.

Kerenyi also noted

diagnoses of post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety all contributed to the ruling.

Now, instead of a trial on Feb. 20 of next year, Barton will be committed to the Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare facility in Athens on Dec. 19.

“But there is a substantial likelihood that she could be restored to competency,” said Kerenyi, noting that the facility would be required to check in with the court in six months. “And when she becomes competent to stand trial they will be required to notify this court.”

Barton was represented by attorney George Cosenza in Kerenyi’s courtroom Wednesday and neither he, nor Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings, stated any objection to the judge’s ruling.

At a glance

¯ Kaitlyn G. Barton, 19, of 101 Stonecrest Drive, Marietta, will be committed to in-patient treatment at the Appalachian Behavioral Center on Dec. 19.

¯ Barton faces the following charges: Aggravated vehicular homicide, a first-degree felony, aggravated vehicular homicide, a second-degree felony, driving under OVI suspension, a first-degree misdemeanor and operation while under the influence of alcohol, a first-degree misdemeanor.

¯ Barton was found unable to participate in her defense until she completes treatment in Washington County Common Pleas Court Wednesday.

¯ Barton was driving while under suspension and while allegedly intoxicated on April 23 when she wrecked a vehicle, killing her passenger, Matthew Cokeley, 24, of Parkersburg.

Source: Washington County Common Pleas Court.

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