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November 14, 2002

Judge: Deaf man incompetent to stand trial in killings

From: Miami Herald, FL
Nov. 14, 2002

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - A deaf, mildly retarded man charged with five slayings at his home in 2000 is still not competent to stand trial, a judge ruled.

Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe on Wednesday sent Dexter Levingston, 27, back to the mental hospital for more evaluation.

Levingston was arrested in the October 2000 slayings of his grandmother, great aunt and uncle, a cousin and a 12-year-old girl who lived with the family. Investigators said he used guns, a machete, a knife, a screwdriver and scissors to kill the five in the Tampa suburb of Seffner.

He was declared incompetent to stand trial and has been in the hospital since November 2000.

Levingston suffered spinal meningitis as a baby and the illness left him deaf in one ear and with 10 percent hearing in the other. His brain stem was damaged and he is mildly retarded, his family has said.

Levingston doesn't know sign language or how to read lips, complicating his treatment and ability to communicate with attorneys.

After reviewing reports by two physicians, Tharpe said Levingston will stay in the state mental hospital four to six months before being evaluated again.

© AP Wire and Miami Herald