COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A man charged in a series of highway shootings around central Ohio is competent to stand trial despite suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, according to a psychiatrist.

In a sworn statement filed Thursday, Dr. Mark Mills said Charles A. McCoy Jr. has had the illness for at least 10 years and requires medication “to achieve and/or maintain competence.”

McCoy, 28, has pleaded innocent to a 24-count indictment including the fatal shooting of a 62-year-old woman in November. She was the only person hit in the attacks, which occurred mostly on or around Interstate 270 in Columbus.

Though medicated, McCoy understands he is charged with several serious crimes and is able to communicate with his lawyers and help them in his defense, Mills said.

Last month, Mills met with McCoy in jail for two days and reviewed his medical history. The defense can also use the information if it switches McCoy’s plea to innocent by reason of insanity.

Defense lawyer Andrew Haney did not immediately return a call seeking comment Thursday.

McCoy could face the death penalty if convicted. The trial is set for January.

AP-ES-07-15-04 1725EDT

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