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Insanity Plea In Ohio Sniping Case

Charles McCoy Jr., who stands accused of allegedly being the Ohio highway sniper listens to proceedings during an extradition hearing at the Clark County Courthouse in Las Vegas, Friday, March 19, 2004. McCoy waived extradition and will be returned to Ohio.
CBS/AP
A man charged in a deadly string of highway shootings in Ohio pleaded innocent by reason of insanity Wednesday.

Charles A. McCoy Jr., 29, suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, according to court documents and his attorneys. They said psychiatrists found evidence McCoy did not understand right from wrong when the shootings took place.

McCoy has had the illness, which is characterized by delusions and hallucinations, for at least 10 years, defense attorney Mark Collins said. Before his arrest, McCoy went long periods of time without taking his medication, Collins said.

Prosecutors did not immediately return calls for comment.

McCoy previously pleaded innocent. On Tuesday, a judge ruled he was competent to stand trial.

McCoy could be sentenced to death if convicted of murder in the slaying of a 62-year-old woman in November. She was the only person hit in the more than 20 shootings that occurred mostly around the Interstate 270 beltway on the city's south side from October through February.

His trial is set for Jan. 7.

McCoy was captured in March in Las Vegas. He came to authorities' attention after someone — authorities will not say who -- called police to say McCoy's father had guns belonging to his son. The father gave police the guns.

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