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Hall still faces scrutiny

The case of a Lawrence County man accused of starting the Scottown fireworks fire three years ago will return to court in seven months.

Friday, September 03, 1999

The case of a Lawrence County man accused of starting the Scottown fireworks fire three years ago will return to court in seven months.

At that time, Lawrence County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Walton will examine state mental health reports on Todd Hall, who was found incompetent to stand trial on arson and involuntary manslaughter charges related to the 1996 fire that killed nine people.

Hall is still serving a court-ordered two-year commitment in Cambridge Psychiatric Hospital, a state mental health facility.

State doctors first recommended committing Hall in September 1997, then later transferred him from a maximum security facility to Cambridge, according to court records.

In March 1998, Walton ordered the two-year commitment, finding Hall still a danger to himself and the public.

In March 2000, state mental health officials will make another commitment recommendation and the court will consider the matter again, Walton said.

Meanwhile, Cambridge doctors cite recurring behavioral disturbances, including physical assaults, have made Hall a "management problem for staff" at the facility, according to court records.

As a clinical trial, doctors planned in January to give Hall more freedom of movement, such as visits with his father, while remaining restricted to hospital grounds.

In July, the hospital’s Forensic Leadership Committee recommended Hall get one-hour visits, followed by up to two hours in later visits.

Hall must maintain certain behavioral goals – such as taking all his medications, making no assaults and controlling verbal threats – for six days in order to receive the visits, doctors wrote in a letter to the court.

The court agreed to the conditions in a July 22 letter.