TV anchor slaying supect declines exam

June 12, 2009 1:38:31 PM PDT
A man charged with capital murder in the rape and beating death of a television anchorwoman refused to undergo a mental examination but did so in a "rational" way, a psychiatrist says. Lawyers for Curtis Lavelle Vance sought to have the results of the exam filed under seal in Pulaski County Circuit Court, but the psychiatrist's letters were available to the public Friday.

Stacy M. McBain, a forensic psychiatry fellow at the Arkansas State Hospital, wrote the court that Vance refused to cooperate during the May 27 examination.

"The defendant gave a well-stated, rational and reasonable explanation as to why he did not wish to participate and reported no history of mental illness or mental health treatment," McBain wrote. "It is my opinion that Mr. Vance's unwillingness to participate in the examination is not the result of mental disease or defect."

The interview likely took place at the Pulaski County jail, where Vance remains held without bond in the slaying of Anne Pressly, a morning anchorwoman for Little Rock television station KATV.

Katherine Streett, Vance's lead public defender, declined to comment Friday, citing a gag order. Streett also has requested that state child-welfare officials turn over any records they might have about abuse Vance or his siblings suffered as children.

Vance, 28, of Marianna, is scheduled to appear at a court hearing Tuesday to discuss the mental examination.

If convicted of capital murder, he would face either a death sentence or life in prison. Prosecutors have yet to say whether they'll seek the death penalty in the case, scheduled for trial Sept. 9.

Pressly, 26, worked as a reporter and anchorwoman at the ABC affiliate. Her mother found her severely beaten Oct. 20 in her Little Rock home. Pressly died at a hospital five days later. Authorities say DNA samples collected at the journalist's home led them to Vance.

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