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Psychological exam on hold in child death

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 9:36 p.m.

An expert wants his $3,000 fee to be paid in advance before he conducts a psychological examination of a Fayette County man who faces a possible death penalty in the fatal beating of a 4-year-old boy.

Patrick Ray Haney and the boy's mother, Heather Louise Forsythe, both 29, are charged with criminal homicide in the Sept. 13, 2011, death of Forsythe's son, Trenton Lewis St. Clair.

Prosecutors allege Haney beat the boy over an extended period of time and Forsythe did nothing to stop the abuse.

District Attorney Jack Heneks is seeking the death penalty against Haney, with torture and the victim's age listed as aggravating circumstances if he is convicted of first-degree murder.

James Andrews, a forensic social worker with Forensic Behavioral Associates of Greensburg, has been retained by Haney's attorney, Charles M. Carpinelli of Brownsville, as a mitigation expert. If there is a penalty phase in the trial, the defense will present mitigating circumstances that could justify a sentence of life imprisonment.

According to a motion filed Tuesday by Carpinelli, Andrews will not interview Haney until Fayette County advances him his $3,000 fee.

Judge Nancy Vernon previously issued an order approving a fee of up to $3,000 for Haney's psychological exam. Another $6,000 has been set aside for an investigator and a mitigation expert.

In the motion, Carpinelli indicated that Andrews tried unsuccessfully to have the county pay his fee in advance. Carpinelli is seeking a judge's order requiring Fayette County to pay the fee in advance, according to the motion.

Carpinelli plans to present the filing in motions court on June 3.

Haney and Forsythe are both in Fayette County jail.

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