Humphries competent to stand trial for murder

Michael Alan Humphries II

Michael Alan Humphries II is competent to stand trial for first-degree murder. That was Judge Dale Durrer’s finding after he reviewed a 10-page report on Humphries’ mental competency submitted by doctors at Western State Hospital in Staunton. 

Humphries, 37, is accused of murdering Alistair C. Smith, 24, in Wendell’s Place Laundromat on Route 20 in eastern Orange County on Feb. 13, 2018.

Durrer announced his decision during a hearing Friday afternoon in Orange County Circuit Court. The request for a mental competency evaluation came from Humphries’ attorney, David Randle.

A seven-day jury trial for Humphries is set to begin on Friday, Sept. 27, at 9:30 a.m. In addition to first-degree murder, he is charged with using a firearm while committing a felony. He is currently in custody at Central Virginia Regional Jail.

The evidence against Humphries is strong. While law enforcement was investigating the scene of the crime shortly after the shooting, Humphries turned himself in to the Central Virginia Regional Jail. The defendant told jail authorities he “shot a guy,” and again admitted to shooting Smith during an interview at the sheriff’s office, court records reveal.

Also according to court records, Humphries told authorities he suspected his wife was having an affair with the victim, with whom she worked at a local convenience store. In addition to Humphries’ confession, evidence in the case includes witness testimony and video footage of Humphries entering the Locust Grove laundromat and shooting Smith with a long rifle.

His trial originally was scheduled to begin on April 29 of this year, but it was postponed because Durrer granted Humphries’ request for a new court-appointed lawyer. At the time, Durrer remarked he was “not happy” with the defendant’s request, which he said amounted to waiving the right to a speedy trial.

Durrer expressed confidence in Humphries’ attorney at the time, Adam Rhea, and Orange County Commonwealth’s Attorney Diana O’Connell said Rhea had spent hours in her office going over video footage and other evidence related to the case, but the judge ultimately excused Rhea and appointed Randle as Humphries’ new counsel.

A further motions hearing for Humphries is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5, at 9:30 a.m.

Get Breaking News Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Hilary Holladay covers education and politics for the Orange County Review. The author of five books, she is currently writing a biography of the poet Adrienne Rich.

Load comments