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A former Appalachian School of Law student accused of killing three people during a shooting spree at the Grundy, Va., campus was found incompetent to stand trial after a courtroom rant Thursday in which he blamed federal authorities for his problems. Buchanan County General District Judge Fred Combs said that Peter Odighizuwa, 43, should be hospitalized for treatment so he can become competent. Reports from two mental health experts, one selected by defense and the other by the prosecution, agreed that Odighizuwa needs treatment. “Both of the reports indicate that at this time he is not competent to stand trial. Both reports state he can be restored to competency,” Combs said. Odighizuwa, a native of Nigeria, is accused of gunning down his former dean, a professor and a student at the law school during a shooting spree on Jan. 16. Days before, faculty informed Odighizuwa, described as a loner prone to violent outbursts, that they were flunking him out of school. Prosecutors have charged Odighizuwa with multiple counts of capital murder and are seeking the death penalty. The defendant sat quietly beside his court-appointed lawyers Thursday until the judge asked him if he would be willing to take medication. Odighizuwa stood up and launched into a rambling lecture in which he blamed the FBI, the CIA and Vice President Cheney, among others, for his problems. “All I’m saying is find out why the FBI is harassing me,” he said. The judge asked him again if he would take medication. “If it is making me sick … I will spit it out,” Odighizuwa said. The judge then ordered that the defendant be hospitalized. Defense attorney Jimmy Turk Jr. said Odighizuwa suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and is delusional. “We’re dealing with a person who is very mentally ill, and has been for a very long time,” Turk said. “This is very real. He believes that every government official in the country has tried to sabotage his life and his career. He has even mentioned President Bush.” Defense co-counsel Roger D. Groot said he doubts that Odighizuwa will ever return to society, whether he is imprisoned or hospitalized. “He’s not going anywhere,” Groot said. Killed in the rampage were Dean Anthony Sutin, who left a high-ranking job with the U.S. Justice Department to take a job at the fledging law school; professor Thomas Blackwell, and student Angela Dales. Since his arrest, Odighizuwa has been combative with his court-appointed psychiatrist and defense team. Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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