Hearing delayed for Columbia man charged in daughters' deaths

July 12, 2002|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

A preliminary hearing for a 44-year-old Columbia banker accused of killing his two preschool-age daughters last month was delayed yesterday to give mental health professionals more time to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

During a brief appearance in Howard District Court yesterday, an attorney for Robert Emmett Filippi said that officials at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital were evaluating his client and would need more time to assess whether he will be able to assist in his defense.

"It's a serious case," Filippi's attorney, James B. Kraft, said later. "Everyone wants to make sure that Mr. Filippi is competent to assist in his defense. If he is not, there is no way we can go forward."

No new date for the probable cause proceeding had been scheduled by late yesterday.

Filippi, who was amid a divorce and custody dispute with his estranged wife, Naoko Nakajima, at the time of the deaths, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the strangling of 4-year-old Nicole Filippi and her 2-year-old sister, Lindsey, on June 9.

The girls were discovered in an upstairs bed in their Harmel Drive home with ropes around their necks. They were later pronounced dead at Howard County General Hospital.

Robert Filippi was committed to Perkins the next day after authorities questioned his competency.

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