BEDFORD, Va. – The sentencing hearing for Daniel Flint, who pleaded guilty in connection with the 2020 arson of the old Bedford Middle School, continued Monday after questions were raised last week concerning whether he met the court’s definition of mentally incapacitated.
The hearing resumed, then went back into a recess within 10 minutes as attorneys asked the judge for more time to explore options for Flint.
Bedford Commonwealth’s Attorney Wes Nance says the delay is based on Friday’s testimony from psychologist Dr. Robert Haxter. He suggested Flint receive guardianship because he does not believe the 23-year-old has the mental ability to make his own decisions.
Nance says that legal terminology is typically used during civil hearings -- and since this is a criminal case -- the defense must file a petition to have the defendant reevaluated.
Flint, who is diagnosed with autism, is assumed to be competent to withstand trial, according to Nance. But questions remain over his mental capacity.
Nance says regardless of the outcome, the community’s safety will be addressed and taken care of.
Flint’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 21 – but even then, a decision may not be made.