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Evaluation says man not insane when girl killed

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HILLSBORO, Ohio - A Highland County judge has set an Aug. 19 trial date for a man accused of killing his 5-year-old niece.

Trial had been delayed for 19-year-old Matthew Pierson while his competency was evaluated. Highland County Common Pleas Judge Rocky Coss said Monday the evaluation concluded that Pierson was not insane at the time of the slaying.

A psychological report last year found that Pierson was unable to assist in his own defense then, but his competency was restored after a report last month, following his treatment in a mental health facility.

The Times-Gazette of Hillsboro ( ) reports that Pierson's attorneys say they don't plan at this point to seek another medical opinion. He has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges in Jada Beth Williams' death last August.

Highland County officials said they found 5-year-old Jada Beth dead in the garage of a residence located on Flat Run Road in Jackson Township.

Williams died of multiple blunt force trauma to her head, face and neck according to preliminary autopsy findings. The autopsy also did not find any signs of sexual assault, but additional forensic testing is still being completed.

During the initial search of the home after the body was found, detectives recovered what they believe to be the murder weapon, a scythe, or hand instrument used in the cutting of high grass or weeds.

Detective Randy Sanders stated in an affidavit that Pierson admitted to killing Williams inside the house on Flat Run Road on Saturday, Aug. 11.

"She did have visible trauma about her body and we believe and evidence has indicated her death was a criminal act," said Highland County Sheriff Ron Ward.

Copyright Copyright AP Modified, Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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