Walter Rosengarth, charged in the shooting deaths of an elderly Chadds Ford attorney and his wife almost six years ago because of a mistaken belief they poisoned him, remains incompetent to stand trial, according to his attorney.Rosengarth, 69, will undergo another 60 days of psychiatric treatment - this time, on medication - at Norristown State Hospital, according to defense attorney David Sigismonti.
"Both the psychiatrist and psychologist arrived at the conclusion that he is need of another 60 days. They also wanted a court order that he be involuntarily medicated," said Sigismonti.
He said he and Deputy District Attorney James Mattera met with Judge James Nilon on Tuesday and an order is to be issued allowing the treating physicians to administer the necessary medicine, which Rosengarth so far has refused to take.
Rosengarth is facing two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Miles Warner, 81, a Harvard-educated attorney, and his wife, Mary, also 81. Both were found dead Dec. 10, 2002, in their Atwater Road home.
Nilon originally signed an order in May that Rosengarth was to under-go 60 days of treatment. But no bed was available at Norristown until Aug. 5, and he has been hospitalized since that date.
The treatment for Rosengarth has delayed all court proceedings until it is determined that he is stabilized. Defense psychiatrist Stephen Mechanick testified during the May hearing that Rosengarth is schizophrenic and delusional.
Mechanick said with medicine and counseling Rosengarth will eventually be able to participate in his defense and stand trial.
Sigismonti had originally sought to have Rosengarth declared incompetent, charging he could not communicate with his client. He also present-ed testimony from Mechanick that the defendant had an irrational belief that the killings were justified.
During that same May hearing, Rosengarth referred to "evidence" that Sigismonti said involved a nonexistent book that Rosengarth believes contains the names of others who were poisoned by the victims.
The Warners' slayings remained unsolved for several years. In 2006 authorities focused on Rosengarth, who performed odd jobs for the victims. He became a suspect after Hilarie Showalter, who works for a Chester County judge, spotted the names "Miles" and "Mary" in statements the defendant made to doctors. The information was subsequently turned over to state police.
They then discovered that in writings and in statements to other prison-ers Rosengarth implicated himself in their shooting deaths, according to a court document.
Rosengarth is serving an 18-to-36-year prison stint in the 2003 wounding of two Chester County sheriff's deputies. They were shot while attempting to serve an eviction notice on him for nonpayment of taxes.
Competency refers only to a defendant's mental condition at this time. It differs from a legal insanity defense, which involves a debilitating mental disease suffered by the accused at the time of the crime.
Sigismonti has already filed a mental infirmity defense in the case, charging that Rosengarth was insane at the time of the killings and could not distinguish right from wrong and did not know the nature and quality of the act.