Man accused of killing 4 in Butler Twp. found incompetent for trial, but restorable

A judge has ruled that a man accused of killing four people in Butler Twp. last year will be treated at a mental health facility after it was determined his competency could be restored and allow him to stand trial.

Stephen A. Marlow is facing 12 aggravated murder charges, eight aggravated burglary charges and one count each of tampering with evidence and having weapons while under disability in the deaths of Clyde W. Knox, 82; his wife, Eva “Sally” Knox, 78; Sarah J. Anderson, 41; and her daughter, Kayla E. Anderson, 15.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. previously said the death penalty is “on the table” in the case.

Marlow’s defense team filed a not guilty by reason of insanity plea last December. Since then, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Dennis J. Adkins ordered three mental competency and sanity evaluations.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

In September, the court heard testimonies and the findings on Marlow’s competency to stand trial. Wednesday, Adkins signed an order finding Marlow incompetent to stand trial but able to be restored to competency with treatment.

“Defendant is in need of the least restrictive treatment alternative consistent with the defendant’s treatment needs for restoration to competency and with the safety of the community,” the order read.

Marlow will be treated at Summit Behavioral Health and transferred back to the Montgomery County Jail once competency is restored, according to court records.

The facility will submit a report to the court by May 29 detailing if Marlow understands the court proceedings against him and if he’s capable of helping his defense.

If the examiner believes Marlow is still incompetent, the report will also include if they think his competency can be restored with treatment within the statutory time limits.

Marlow is accused of shooting and killing four neighbors on Hardwicke Place on Aug. 5, 2022.

Around 11:35 a.m., he reportedly walked into an open garage at 7120 Hardwicke Place and shot Sarah Anderson before going into the house and shooting Kayla Anderson multiple times. He then returned to the garage and shot Sarah Anderson again, according to a Vandalia Municipal Court affidavit.

Marlow then reportedly went to 7214 Hardwick Place and shot Clyde and Sally Knox multiple times in a detached garage.

He was arrested the next day in Lawrence, Kansas.

Investigators found a manifesto on what was believed to be Marlow’s computer after they served a search warrant at his parents’ home.

The manifesto, which included his name and address, mentioned conspiracy theories and beliefs his neighbors were sleeper cell terrorists, according to Vandalia Municipal Court records. He also reportedly mentioned hearing voices in his head that spoke to him.

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