A Hartsville man has been acquitted of a criminal homicide charge after being found not guilty by reason of insanity.
James David Rentfro, 29, had been charged in the May 17, 2015 shooting death of Sherman Brady at his home on New Harmony Road in Macon County.
Judge Brody Kane handed down the verdict on Tuesday, July 25, after a two-day bench trial, according to reports in the Macon County Chronicle.
Since his arrest, Rentfro has been held at the Lois DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville. According to the district attorney’s office, staff at the facility evaluated Rentfro and determined he was suffering from mental illness.
The Chronicle reported that according to witnesses, Rentfro’s mother had passed away in early May and that in the two weeks before the shooting, he had lost a significant amount of weight, wasn’t sleeping or eating and he was described as unkempt, which was said to be unusual for him.
“The defense had three mental health experts that testified,” said assistant district attorney Javin Cripps. “They looked at the video of the questioning and his confession, jail records, along with statements from everybody that had talked to him that day and prior. They determined at that time he suffered from a severe mental illness that kept him from appreciating the nature or wrongfulness of his actions.”
Rentfro will undergo an evaluation at the DeBerry facility within the next 30 days to determine of he should be committed to inpatient hospitalization, according to the DA’s office. A further hearing is scheduled for September.
Reach Chris Gregory at 615-374-3556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.