Judge to determine if Blan man charged with kidnapping competent to stand trial


By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com



WILMINGTON — Both sides presented their arguments Monday as to whether Dennis Dunn is competent to stand trial.

Dunn, currently held in the Clinton County Jail, faces two charges of felony 1 kidnapping and three counts of felony 3 abduction in regards to him allegedly kidnapping of his neighbor Jennifer Elliott on April 26, 2017 in Blanchester.

During a hearing at the Clinton County Common Pleas Court. Psychologist Dr. Joy McGhee of Cincinnati, for the prosecution, believes that Dunn, 47, is competent to stand trial. Dr. James Hawkins of Cincinnati, for the defense, believes Dunn isn’t.

According to McGhee, while Dunn has cognitive issues and suffers from schizoaffective disorder — a mental disorder with symptoms similar to schizophrenia — he is not mentally dysfunctional. He was able to understand and respond to questions involving the charges he faces and about court proceedings, according to her.

Hawkins said that when he met Dunn he was “acting psychotic” and claimed to be hearing voices. According to Hawkins, Dunn had “paranoid delusions” and believes himself innocent because “he tried to save Ms. Elliott from a prostitution ring.”

The victim was reported missing by her mother, Gayle Rowe, at 1:30 a.m. April 26 after she arrived home from work and couldn’t find her. Elliott and her son were living with Rowe at the time of the kidnapping.

Elliott was found by Blanchester Police in a pit dug out of a shed in Dunn’s back yard around 4 a.m. after Rowe reported she heard crying the shed.

The pit was approximately three-and-a-half feet deep and two feet in diameter, and covered with wood and heavy objects to hold the wood down, according to Blanchester Police Chief Scott Reinbolt.

When Elliott was rescued she appeared to be having a seizure and was transported to Clinton Memorial Hospital. Dunn was arrested and charged with kidnapping that morning.

Both sides will submit their final briefs to Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck on April 5, with Rudduck due to his decision.

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By John Hamilton

jhamilton@wnewsj.com

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574