Anthony Todd Ghormley of Maryville to finish serving 105-year sentence, will not get new trial
By Wes Wade | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A judge has ruled that a Maryville man serving a 105-year prison sentence was competent to stand trial when he was convicted on attempted murder and kidnapping charges in 2009.
Anthony Todd Ghormley, who is currently being housed at the West Tennessee State Penitentiary, will not get a new trial after Senior Judge Don R. Ash ruled Ghormley was competent during his 2009 trial.
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals granted Ghormley a retrospective competency hearing in January 2012 after ruling that the trial court in Blount County had erred in failing to hold a competency hearing at the time.
The competency hearing was held June 4, with Judge Ash ruling Friday that Ghormley was competent when he stood trial in September 2009. Ghormley was found guilty at that time of two counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated assault, one count of especially aggravated kidnapping and one count of especially aggravated burglary.
The convictions stem from a September 2007 incident when Ghormley beat Karen Vandyke — Ghormley’s newlywed wife at the time — Vandyke’s cousin, Candy Bussey, and her grandmother, Gaynell Head, with an aluminium baseball bat. Ghormley reportedly held Head hostage for nearly eight hours at a residence on Lively Road in Maryville before surrendering to deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.
Ghormley had argued that he required medication to be competent to stand trial, according to court documents, adding that since he was not taking medication at the time of his trial, he was incompetent and should be granted a new trial.
Court documents note that Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood, who presided over Ghormley’s trial in 2009, said Ghormley appeared competent and was even well-versed in the legal system.
It was also brought up during the June competency hearing that when Ghormley returned to the Blount County jail from his stay at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute, he started refusing to take his medication at various times in the spring of 2008. Ghormley also signed a refusal of medications form in June 2008, court documents state.
Ash noted in his ruling that any medication prescribed to Ghormley was offered to him and that it was his own choice to refuse the medicines.
The ruling also noted that during the competency hearing Ghormley, who was not on any medications, was clearly assisting counsel and able to conduct himself appropriately.