Competency hearing set for Ohioan suspected of killing women

FILE – This file photo provided by the Ashland County Sheriff Office shows Shawn Grate, arrested Sept. 13, 2016, in Ashland, Ohio. Attorneys for Grate, suspected of killing several women in Ohio, are pursuing an insanity defense and asking a judge to have someone determine whether the man is competent to stand trial. A competency hearing already was scheduled for Jan. 6, 2017, in Ashland County court. (Ashland County Sheriff Office via AP, File)

ASHLAND, Ohio (AP) — A man suspected of killing several women in Ohio is scheduled for a competency hearing as his attorneys argue that he’s not guilty of murder and other charges because he’s insane.

The hearing via video conference was scheduled Friday in Ashland County court for 40-year-old Shawn Grate.

Lawyers pursuing the insanity defense recently asked the judge to order an evaluation of Grate to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

Police arrested Grate in September, when they found two bodies in an abandoned Ashland home where another woman had called 911 and said she’d been held captive. Grate is also accused of raping her.

Investigators say he admitted killing at least two other women elsewhere.

A judge’s order blocks defense attorneys and prosecutors from publicly discussing the case.