According to his attorney, Anthony Ochs is a three-tour veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom who suffered from blackouts and was under the care of the VA when he was arrested this year.
Which is why his attorney, Randy Fisher, asked Allen Superior Court Judge Fran Gull to appoint psychiatric and psychological experts to evaluate Ochs to determine whether he was sane in April when prosecutors allege he beat his girlfriend to death with a baseball bat.
During a pretrial hearing Tuesday in Superior Court, Fisher told the court he plans to use the defense of mental disease or defect when Ochs’ trial begins in September.
Fisher asked Gull to delay the trial while Ochs undergoes the evaluations, but Steve Godfrey, Allen County deputy prosecutor and chief criminal counsel, objected, saying the requests should have been made earlier.
Fisher said he was waiting for confirmation about Ochs’ treatment from the Marion VA Medical Center which did not come to him until last week.
Gull denied Fisher’s request to postpone the trial but granted his requests to appoint experts to evaluate Ochs. She said she would appoint the doctors Tuesday and ask that they complete the evaluations as soon as possible.
Police arrested Ochs, 39, after he called 911 just after 3 a.m. April 13, saying he hit Susan Lombardi, 42, in the head with a baseball bat.
Ochs said he’d consumed about a dozen beers, couldn’t remember how many times he’d hit her or what it was that made him so angry, according to court documents.
Ochs was originally charged with attempted murder as Lombardi clung to life at a local hospital, suffering from multiple facial fractures and traumatic brain injuries.
A few days later, Lombardi’s family removed her from life support and Allen County prosecutors escalated the charge against Ochs to murder.
Also on Tuesday, prosecutors said they intend to use information about prior instances of violence between Ochs and Lombardi as evidence in the trial.
According to court documents, Lombardi called police Jan. 7, saying Ochs was armed with a knife and threatening to kill her. Then, about six weeks before her death, Ochs apologized to Lombardi’s dad for having shoved her to the ground.