A Dade City man accused of stabbing a social worker to death in December will be tested to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial for second-degree murder, his public defender said today.
Lucious Edward Smith, 53, entered a plea of not guilty on the second-degree murder charge Monday morning in front of Judge Pat Siracusa. Smith is accused of stabbing Stephanie Ross, 25, to death on Dec. 10.
Ross, a social worker for Maryland-based Integra Health Management, visited Smith's Dade City apartment to deliver paperwork. Smith chased Ross from his apartment and stabbed her several times with a butcher knife, according to the Pasco sheriff's office.
"We have to find out whether or not he is competent now or whether he was sane or insane (at the time of the stabbing)," public defender Tom Hanlon said.
One witness told reporters she saw Smith grab Ross by the head "in the middle of the street and started stabbing her."
After the stabbing, a passing motorist took Ross to the Pasco Regional Medical Center where she died from her wounds.
Hanlon said the state attorney's office also has a right to have its own doctor test Smith's mental state. He said there's a possibility the sides will return to court in about three weeks for another hearing.
"The state is getting an expert and we're going to get another expert – we've gotten one expert and we're going to get another one – then we'll come back and see the judge," Hanlon said.