A man charged in connection with the triple homicide of a couple marking their 50th wedding anniversary and the woman’s 97-year-old mother in suburban Boston was found by a judge on Monday to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.
During a hearing in Newton District Court, the judge ordered Christopher Ferguson, 41, of Newton, to remain at Bridgewater State Hospital, a state psychiatric facility for people who have either been convicted of or are awaiting trial on criminal charges.
Prosecutors said at the hearing that the state couldn’t show that Ferguson was competent to stand trial “as of today.”
“Based on that information, I will make a finding today that the defendant today is not competent,” Judge Jennifer Queally ruled.
Ferguson is charged in connection with the killings of Gilda D’Amore, 73, Bruno D’Amore, 74, and Lucia Arpino, who were found dead on June 25 at a home in Newton after the couple failed to show up at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, where parishioners had planned to celebrate the D’Amores’ 50th wedding anniversary in a post-Communion blessing.
Ferguson, who did not appear to have any connection to the victims, previously pleaded not guilty and has been held without bail. He has been charged with murder, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and burglary. Prosecutors have said additional charges could follow.
The victims were discovered in a bedroom by a friend shortly after they failed to show up for 10 a.m. Mass, police said. The friend called police, who discovered signs of forced entry through a window. Investigators found bare footprints on the tile floor, along with blood droplets and fingerprints.
Surveillance video from a nearby home showed a man with no shirt or shoes staggering not far from the D’Amores’ home shortly before 5:30 a.m., according to prosecutors. Several police officers identified the man as Ferguson, whose footprints matched bloody prints found in the home, investigators said.
Ferguson’s attorney told The Boston Globe on Monday that he expects his client to be indicted by a grand jury in the coming weeks. That ruling would move the case to Superior Court, where another judge will decide whether to adopt the results of the current competency evaluation or order a new one.
“If he is found to have regained competency, either because he was treated or medicated, his case would then continue along the regular path toward a criminal trial,” Lev said.
Ferguson’s next court date is Oct. 10.