Hanover murder suspect to undergo neurological tests

HANOVER, Va. (WTVR) — A Hanover man charged with first degree murder in the stabbing death of Sarajane Hakopian appeared in Hanover Circuit Court Thursday.

Brian Mallory was only in the courtroom for about 25 minutes as attorneys tried to figure out the best way to get Mallory neurological tests the judge had previously ordered.

In Mallory’s initial psychological exam, a doctor determined he was competent to stand trial.  Later, information that Mallory possibly suffered from brain damage caused the doctor to ask for more tests.

“He said these things should not be ruled out in the case before he could give a definite opinion on sanity,” Willis Robertson Jr., Mallory’s defense attorney, said.

In December, the judge ruled Mallory must go through with any more tests the doctor felt were necessary to determine the defendant’s sanity at the time of the incident.

“There were no cases we could find in the Commonwealth where a neurological test like this was conducted.  This may be the first,” Shari Skipper, Deputy Commonwealth Attorney for Hanover County, said.

Mallory’s defense team now has 30 days to begin scheduling the procedures, which could include CAT scans and MRIs that prosecutors said would cost taxpayers nearly $3,000.

Mallory is scheduled to appear in court again on April 2.

His family was at Thursday’s hearing, but declined to comment.

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