News and Tribune

December 19, 2013

Sellersburg standoff suspect cleared for trial

Joshua Priddy is accused of shooting deputy, killing K-9

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — The man who engaged police in a nearly 10-hour standoff in a Sellersburg home earlier this year has been deemed competent to stand trial.

Joshua L. Priddy, 32, Sellersburg, was the subject of at least two evaluations performed by mental-health professionals that helped the court determine his competency during a hearing in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 on Thursday.

While his competency to stand trial is no longer in question, Priddy’s defense attorney, Perry McCall, Jeffersonville, said he plans to show that his client was insane at the time of the June 24 incident where prosecutors will try to prove he shot a Clark County Sheriff’s deputy and killed an Indiana State Police K-9 dog.

Priddy is has been charged with seven counts of class A felony attempted murder and 11 class D felony charges for residential entry, pointing a firearm at another person and resisting law enforcement.

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said after the brief competency hearing that attorneys did not struggle to consider Priddy prepared to stand trial.

“The defense and the prosecutor — after reviewing the reports of the psychiatrists — both of us agreed that he was competent, so that issue was not contested today,” Mull said.

Priddy was administered the evaluations after McCall had filed a motion to determine his client’s competency. The evaluations were conducted by court-appointed mental-health professionals.

“It simply means we can go forward with the prosecution of the case,” Mull said of Priddy’s competency, adding that he expects to determine in January whether or not the state will offer a plea or further prepare for trial.

McCall said the determination that his client is competent to stand trial does not present an obstacle while claiming Priddy was insane at the time of the alleged crimes.

“The two don’t conflict at all,” McCall said.

He said Priddy was a successful Louisville firefighter who was rising through the ranks when he lost his mental stability and allegedly found himself using a firearm to ward off law enforcement while keeping himself secure in a vacant home he had forcefully entered.

“He was not aware of what his actions were and could not have committed those crimes knowingly and intentionally,” McCall said of Priddy.

He said Priddy’s mental state has improved as an inmate of the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex, where he has been held with no bond since the incident. McCall said the jail has offered a controlled environment that has allowed Priddy to regularly take medication that has assisted in his mental recovery.

McCall also said it remains unclear if a plea agreement will materialize, but said he thinks a plea should be offered.

A pretrial conference has been slated for Jan. 23 and a trial date has been scheduled for March 25.



BACKGROUND

Priddy was arrested about 9:30 p.m. June 24 after a standoff with police that began nearly 10 hours earlier. The standoff started after the Sellersburg Police Department responded to a call made by Priddy’s wife, who asked police to convince her husband to get some mental-health assistance.

Sellersburg police responded to the call and encountered Priddy in the backyard of a neighboring home. He was found with two firearms and two of his young children. Priddy reportedly pointed a firearm at the officers, but police were able to get the children in their care before he ran from the area.

A foot chase ended at Delaware Court home, which Priddy had entered after kicking in a door. Police officers from several agencies, including several SWAT teams, surrounded the house during the subsequent standoff.

Over the course of the day, nearly 40 gas canisters were fired into the home, but Priddy remained inside.

He is believed to have fired multiple shots at police outside of the home with one of the bullets striking a Clark County Sheriff’s deputy in the leg. Kilo, an ISP K-9, was sent into the home early in the standoff and was fatally shot from a bullet believed to have been fired by Priddy.

Priddy eventually walked out of the home, at which time he was taken into custody.