Appomattox murders suspect ruled incompetent to stand trial

APPOMATTOX, VA (WSLS) -  A judge has ruled that the man accused of killing eight people in Appomattox County in January is incompetent to stand trial, according to the Lynchburg News & Advance.

Christopher Speight, 40, had been ordered last month to undergo a competency evaluation to determine if he is able to help his two attorneys craft his defense.

In a written ruling signed June 24, Appomattox County Circuit Court Judge Richard Blanton ordered that Speight be sent to a state psychiatric hospital for treatment "in an effort to restore him to competency."

If Speight is declared competent after his treatment, he could stand trial.

Speight was indicted in April and charged with three counts of capital murder, one count of attempted capital murder, four counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a murder and one count of shooting in an occupied structure.

The murder counts cover all eight victims — Speight's sister, Lauralee Sipe; her husband, Dwayne Sipe; her daughter, Morgan Dobyns; their son, Joshua Sipe; and friends, Jonathan Quarles, his wife, Karen Quarles, their daughter, Emily Quarles, and her boyfriend, Ronald "Bo" Scruggs.

Speight was arrested Jan. 20 after an overnight standoff with deputies at 3030 Snapps Mill Road, the home he shared with his sister and her family.