Spring St. standoff defendant claims insanity

The Marietta man accused of shooting at police during a standoff pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity Thursday, and his attorney has claimed he is not competent to stand trial Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

William B. Ransom, 53, of 140 E. Spring St., Marietta, will now undergo an evaluation by a psychologist with the Forensic Diagnostic Center of District 9 to determine whether he can stand trial and if the jury will be allowed to consider an insanity plea if he does so, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

Ransom was indicted last month on a first-degree felony count of attempted murder with a gun specification.

A five-hour standoff between Ransom and around two dozen law enforcement officers ensued in the early morning hours of Dec. 12 when Ransom’s wife reported her husband was suicidal.

Ransom, on the second floor, first shot through the floor of his home and then continued shooting out the window of the home as officers arrived and formed a perimeter around the home, according to police.

He was finally arrested after tear gas was deployed in the home. However, Ransom was transferred from the Washington County Jail to Behavioral Healthcare in Athens soon after Marietta Municipal Court Judge Janet Dyar Welch ordered a mental evaluation during a scheduled arraignment Dec. 13.

“There are obvious mental health concerns,” said Rings.

“That doesn’t mean he’s (not guilty by reason of insanity).”

He returned to the Washington County Jail on Jan. 3 and is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane scheduled a status conference for March 13.

However, the psychiatric evaluation does not necessarily have to be complete by that time, said Rings.