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Cops and Courts

Murder suspect Owens to have competency exam; bail set at $10 million

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    Roy Owens appears in Elyria Municipal Court along with several Elyria detectives for a preliminary hearing.

    BRUCE BISHOP / CHRONICLE

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ELYRIA — Accused killer Roy Owens Jr. will undergo a competency examination to determine his mental health status before his aggravated murder case moves forward.

Elyria Municipal Court Judge Lisa Locke Graves ordered the evaluation to take place in the next month after Owens’ defense attorney, Doug Merrill, said he had concerns about his client’s mental capacity.

“Obviously, the allegations and the charges as well as some of the behavior he exhibited at the time of his arrest and thereafter,” led him to request the evaluation, Merrill said after the hearing.

Owens, 56, is accused of beating and stabbing his ex-girlfriend, 56-year-old Linnea Satterfield, earlier this month. He was caught in Darke County north of Dayton a few days after signs of a struggle were found at his Charles Court home in Elyria.

Police have said Owens tried to kill himself by cutting his wrists with a dull knife before he was taken into custody after driving his 2001 Buick LeSabre into a ditch. Darke County Sheriff’s deputies found Satterfield’s body in the trunk of the car.

Owens later tried to hang himself while he was in custody, Cillos said.

He was being held without bond until Thursday when Locke Graves set a $10 million bond at the request of Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo, who said prosecutors aren’t pursuing the death penalty.

But he also said that he considered Owens a flight risk and a danger to the community based on his past history and what has happened in this case. He said Owens was camping in cornfields in southern Ohio in an effort to avoid detection.

“It appeared he was trying to figure out how to get rid of the evidence of his misdeeds at that time,” he said.

Cillo said that Owens previously has been convicted of domestic violence in Missouri for trying to twist his ex-wife’s head off during an argument before fleeing for three weeks. Elyria police said after the hearing that Owens served two years of a three-year prison sentence in that 2003 incident.

Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said from what authorities have learned from police in Missouri and Arkansas — the incident occurred on the border of the two states — Owens attacked his then-wife during an argument over grocery shopping.

Cillo also said police found two handguns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition hidden in lockers at the North Ridgeville factory where Owens worked, and that he has a history of survivalist leanings, including keeping large amounts of cash on hand.

“Based upon his past behavior, we believe, with the amount of evidence that is facing him now under Criminal Rule 46 that he has every reason and incentive to continue to run because every day of freedom is one that he’s not going to get in the end,” Cillo said.

But Merrill said the purpose of bond is make sure Owens appears at court and there were other steps that could be taken to ensure he shows up besides setting such a high bond.

“Setting a $10 million bond is like setting no bond at all,” Merrill said.

Locke Graves, who called Owens’ behavior is the “definition of flight risk,” said if he does post bond, he will need a GPS tracking device placed on him before he is allowed to leave Lorain County Jail.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.



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