Nelsonville-Area Man Found Innocent By Reason Of Insanity

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A Nelsonville-area man who was deemed incompetent, then competent to stand trial on a burglary charge, won’t see a trial date because of an insanity plea.

Chad Kister, 42, was found innocent by reason of insanity in a journal entry filed Sept. 13 in Athens County Common Pleas Court by visiting Judge Leonard F. Holzapfel.

Kister was charged with pushing his way past a woman and into the room she was renting from him at a Bessemer Road home he was operating as a hostel.

At a hearing, Kister claimed he had brain implants which were forced on him against his will. Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn requested mental evaluations for Kister after the hearing.

Kister spent three months at Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare, after which a February hearing was held and he was found competent to stand trial. Judge Michael Ward, who has since retired, had found Kister incompetent previously, based on a psychological exam conducted by David Malawista, a forensic and clinical psychologist.

“The doctor (Malawista) found he was NGRI, hopefully the treatment plan and monitoring will keep him and the community safe,” Blackburn said.

Malawista’s report was mentioned in the most recent order by Holzapfel, along with a statement by Alicia Barnes, the tenant.

Kister waived his right to a jury trial before the ruling was made.

“The court orders that the least restrictive placement for (Kister) is a residential placement with monitoring and treatment consistent with the program he is now receiving through the Athens County Municipal Court,” Holzapfel wrote.

The court ordered Kister to continue his treatment with Tri-County Mental Health and for a forensic monitor to provide updates to the court on the treatment.

Kister has the right to appeal the decision, but no notification of appeal is present in the court record.