Legal counsel for a mail carrier facing charges in the pre-Christmas killing of his supervisor and the Dublin postmaster asked Jan. 16 for an evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Federal Public Defender Deborah L. Williams made the request verbally, with plans for a subsequent formal filing, during Deshaune K. Stewart's initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

Stewart, shackled and wearing jailhouse attire, said little during the short hearing, which sets the stage for coming legal proceedings on two counts of murder of federal employees.

Witnesses say Stewart was naked when he entered the Emerald Parkway post office in Dublin just before 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 23 and shot and killed Lance Herrera-Dempsey, 52.

He was found by officers outside a northwest Columbus apartment nearly three hours later, still nude and with a handgun, near the body of Ginger Ballard, 53, who had been thrown to the ground and whose skull had been crushed.

Herrera-Dempsey was Stewart's supervisor, and Ballard was the Dublin postmaster.

Stewart was facing discipline for unspecified work infractions.

He told officers that his managers had been harassing him, according to documents.

Stewart initially faced charges in both state and federal courts, but prosecutors opted to proceed in federal court, saying that's where justice would best be served.

Stewart faces life in prison or a possible death sentence in the case. U.S. Attorney Brenda S. Shoemaker asked federal Magistrate Judge Elizabeth P. Deavers Tuesday that Stewart be held without bond as legal proceedings against him move forward.

He remains in the custody of U.S. marshals.

mkovac@dispatch.com

@Ohio CapitalBlog