By John L. Ross / Staff Writer
“Oh, he is competent to stand trial.”
That’s what Dr. Lindsey Jayne Jasinski testified Wednesday during a competency hearing for defendant James Bowling, 44, of Cannon, who faces charges in two separate cases in Knox County Circuit Court.
Bowling, with his attorney Jennifer Milligan, appeared for the hearing handcuffed and shackled before Circuit Judge Tom Jensen. Bowling faces several charges, including first-degree rape, third-degree arson, and second-degree fleeing or evading police.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Jasinski, a psychiatrist with the University of Kentucky psychiatric department, testified via speaker phone under oath that she evaluated Bowling. She found him “talkative,” and testified that while he was under duress from his girlfriend’s incarceration and the death of his mother, it did not diminish his capacity to understand. “He’s aware of the charges, (and) he’s aware of the penalties,” she said. “He has a good understanding of (legal) terminology and procedures — there’s no issues regarding (Bowling’s) competency.”
Jensen agreed, and set a trial date. Now Bowling will face a jury, scheduled for Sept. 3. A final pretrial conference has been set for Aug. 30.
Bowling was handed a 21-count indictment in March. All charges are related to sex crimes Bowling allegedly committed against a minor, including 10 counts of first-degree rape. All crimes occurred between April 2010 to July 2012. He was also indicted on charges of first-degree persistent felony offender, after his Laurel County conviction in February 2010 of possession of methamphetamine precursors, and his Knox County conviction in March 1998 for his fourth offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants and first-degree wanton endangerment.
Bowling was indicted on other charges in October. In that case he was indicted on two counts of third-degree arson, two counts of first-degree criminal mischief, first-degree wanton endangerment, second-degree fleeing or evading police, alcohol intoxication and first-degree persistent felony offender.
According to Knox County Sheriff John Pickard, Bowling was allegedly seen setting trailers ablaze on Hutton Lane near Barbourville.
Pickard said Deputy Brian Hensley responded to the area in August after receiving a phone call of an intoxicated man setting fire to trailers in the area.
Hensley allegedly observed Bowling running from one of the trailers that was on fire.
After a short foot pursuit, Hensley caught and arrested Bowling.
The Barbourville City Fire Department was contacted to put out the fire, but the damage was already done, Pickard said. Hensley learned this was the second time the fire department had been to this residence, and it was suspected arson was to blame the first time.
Pickard said after Hensley talked to neighbors in the area, it was determined Bowling was allegedly setting the fires.
Bowling remains jailed in the Laurel County Correctional Center under a $75,000 cash bond.