HOLLIDAYSBURG - A judge has ruled that a pending mental health examination of Nicholas Horner will be limited to whether he can comprehend that he is accused of crimes and can participate in his own defense.
Horner, 28, of Altoona RR 5 is in the Blair County Prison awaiting a preliminary hearing on charges that stemmed from an April 6 robbery at the Subway at 100 58th St., and the homicides of Scott Garlick, 19, who was working there, and Raymond Eugene Williams, 64, who lived nearby.
The order by Blair County President Judge Jolene G. Kopriva was filed Monday in the Blair County Prothonotary's office.
Kopriva stated that if Horner is found not competent, the psychiatrist performing the exam will attempt to determine if treatment can eliminate whatever impairments exist.
At the time of the shootings, Horner was undergoing treatment at the Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona for post-traumatic stress disorder. The U.S. Army veteran served several tours in Iraq.
When police searched Horner's home, they found several different medications for panic disorder, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.
His attorney, Blair County Assistant Public Defender John Siford, petitioned two weeks ago for a mental health examination that covered several questions, including Horner's mental state at the time of the shootings.
Kopriva's order limits the exam to whether Horner has the ability to comprehend that he is accused of crimes and if can participate in his defense; and if he can't, what treatment will be necessary to eliminate impairments to his competency.
Kopriva also has ordered the release of Horner's military records from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration in College Park, Md., and his medical history at the VA hospital.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.