James Sterbinsky

James Sterbinsky

A man charged with stabbing and killing his sister and niece in July 2019 is not competent to stand trial, a Lancaster County judge ruled on Thursday. 

Instead, 57-year-old James Sterbinsky will be transferred to Norristown State Hospital for treatment, according to a news release from the Lancaster County District Attorney's office. 

Since being arrested, Sterbinsky has been at Lancaster County Prison. 

Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro said during Thursday's proceedings that Sterbinsky "has not been adequately treated," citing a doctor's report which noted that Sterbinsky has refused treatment. 

The district attorney's office didn't clarify what the treatment was for. 

Totaro based his ruling on a report from a forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Sterbinsky twice, according to the district attorney's office.

"A defendant must be able to participate in their own defense for a trial to commence," the district attorney's office said. 

Sterbinsky was charged with two counts of criminal homicide after police said he stabbed his sister Christine Ross, 53, and niece Autumn Ross, 20, on July 18 at his High Street home. He is also charged with one count of attempted homicide for stabbing his 33-year-old nephew

Prosecutors announced in September 2019 that they would seek the death penalty.

Assistant district attorneys Christine L. Wilson and Janie Swinehart did not oppose the recommendation for Sterbinsky's treatment, stipulating the doctor's report, according to the district attorney's office. 

Sterbinsky was represented by two attorneys at the hearing and appeared via video, the district attorney's office said. 


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