Hearing Scheduled For Man Held For 14 Years In Murder Case

Defense lawyers are asking for help in freeing a mentally retarded man who's been behind bars for 14 years on a murder charge.

Judge Orlando F. Hudson will hear arguments in October on whether Floyd Lee Brown will remain at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, and whether the homicide charge against him should be dismissed.

The hearing is based largely on a writ of habeas corpus application drafted by the Durham-based Center for Death Penalty Litigation. The 43-year-old Brown was first declared mentally incompetent to stand trial in August 1993. Last year, Brown was offered a chance to plead guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter for the slaying of Catherine Lynch, but the deal fell through because Brown couldn't understand it.

Court documents indicate there are other problems with the case,
including lost evidence, corrupt investigators and a purported confession that psychiatrists say is too sophisticated to come from