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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nashua man’s attempted murder trial delayed after questions of competency

NASHUA – A city man’s attempted murder case has stalled in court while lawyers struggle to determine whether he is competent to stand trial – even though a psychiatrist determined that he doesn’t have a serious mental illness.

Mohammad Salimullah, 37, originally was scheduled to be tried for attempted murder in April after being arrested and charged with slashing his wife’s throat with a knife. The trial was delayed so a psychiatrist could examine him to determine his competency, according to court records. ...

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NASHUA – A city man’s attempted murder case has stalled in court while lawyers struggle to determine whether he is competent to stand trial – even though a psychiatrist determined that he doesn’t have a serious mental illness.

Mohammad Salimullah, 37, originally was scheduled to be tried for attempted murder in April after being arrested and charged with slashing his wife’s throat with a knife. The trial was delayed so a psychiatrist could examine him to determine his competency, according to court records.

A competency hearing scheduled for earlier this month was delayed after prosecutors filed a motion indicating that the psychiatrist ruled Salimullah was not competent, primarily because Salimullah refused to cooperate in the evaluation, according to court records.

A Hillsborough County Superior Court judge granted prosecutors’
request to have Salimullah examined by a second psychiatrist.

Salimullah was arrested Aug. 14 and charged with first- and second-degree assault and later indicted on an attempted murder charge. Police say he tried to kill his wife by slashing her throat with a large kitchen knife, causing a serious laceration that required 20 stitches to close, as well as injuries to her hands, according to court records.

In the motion filed this month, Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Michele Battaglia said Salimullah was found not competent, not restorable and not dangerous because of his “volitional failure to comply with the evaluation.”

The psychiatrist who examined Salimullah, Dr. Dennis Becotte, wrote that Salimullah would not participate in the examination, according to Battaglia’s motion.

“This is certainly an unusual and complex case to be considered by the trier of fact because Mr. Salimullah’s current lack of competence is not based on any serious mental illness or cognitive impairment,” Becotte wrote, according to court records.

Judge Jacalyn Colburn postponed Salimullah’s competency hearing for 90 days, according to court records.

Salimullah is accused of placing his hand over the woman’s mouth while she was sleeping and telling her, “If you want a divorce, we will die together,” then cutting her neck near her carotid artery and jugular vein, according to court documents.

He has been held at Valley Street jail in Manchester on $250,000 bail since his arrest, according to court records.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached
at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).