Mental competency remained too much of a question Wednesday for a Bridgton man accused of shooting and killing his former brother-in-law last month in Sebago to enter a plea to a charge of murder.

Instead, a judge entered a not guilty plea on behalf of 67-year-old David Pinkham during his arraignment in the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland as lawyers await the results of psychological exams. Pinkham, who is accused of killing 66-year-old Charles Cross outside Cross’ home at 331 Hancock Road on March 5, was not required to say anything during the brief hearing before Justice Lance Walker.

“Our position is he is currently not competent to enter a plea or stand trial. The question is whether that will change,” said attorney Andrew Wright, who represents Pinkham in the case.

Pinkham has been held without bail in jail under order by the judge since his initial court appearance on March 7. While jailed, Pinkham has already been examined by one psychologist for the State Forensic Service, but the results of the exam are not yet complete, said Wright, speaking outside the courtroom after the hearing.

Wright said the forensic service has been tasked by the court to assess a three-part question about Pinkham’s mental state: whether he is mentally competent to stand trial, whether he could be determined to be not criminally responsible by reason of insanity and whether he was under an abnormal state of mind. A psychologist has so far assessed only the competency and has yet to produce a report on that question, he said.

Pinkham’s arraignment was a procedural step, following his indictment by a grand jury on April 7 on a charge of intentional and knowing murder of Cross using a .38 caliber revolver.

Cross had been married to Pinkham’s sister for more than 20 years before they divorced about two decades ago. Pinkham remained friends with Cross after the divorce, according to an affidavit filed with the court by Maine State Police Detective John Kyle.

Cross’ longtime girlfriend, Paula Simonds, 59, was in the living room of the home with their 7-year-old grandson when Pinkham drove into the driveway.

Simonds told police Cross let Pinkham into the house and the two men chatted in the kitchen for a while.

“After approximately five minutes, Pinkham left and Cross followed as he always does with their guests to walk them outside. She said shortly thereafter, she heard a noise that sounded like ‘pop-pop.’ She looked out the window and saw Cross laying in the snowbank,” Kyle wrote.

Pinkham drove off, and Simonds called 911. Police in Bridgton pulled over Pinkham’s car about 10 minutes later and saw he had a Taurus .38-caliber revolver in plain view on the front passenger seat. Police later determined that Pinkham bought the gun less than two weeks before the shooting, the affidavit says.

Authorities have yet to identify a motive for the shooting.

Murder in Maine is punishable by 25 years to life in prison.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: @scottddolan


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