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Psychiatric evaluation ordered

| Thursday, March 8, 2001

A Fayette County woman tried to plead no contest Wednesday to attempting to hire a hit man to kill the father of her child, but the judge sent her for a psychiatric evaluation instead.

Crystal D. Anderson, 22, of Vanderbilt, allegedly conspired with her husband to hire someone for $100 to kill Randy E. Swink, a former boyfriend. The plot allegedly was designed to gain custody of the child.

But the 'hit man' was actually an undercover state trooper, authorities said.

Thomas Anderson was convicted in December of solicitation to commit homicide and criminal conspiracy. He was sentenced to 6 &*#189; to 13 years in prison.

Crystal Anderson spent most of yesterday morning shuttling between two courtrooms as jurors picked to hear her case waited in the courthouse hallway.

Her attorney, Mark Morrison of Uniontown, said his client has no memory of the events on the day in question and wanted to enter a plea.

But Judge Gerald R. Solomon refused to take the plea after Anderson said she didn't understand what was going on.

'My train of thought isn't clear. I can't understand things. I'm confused,' she said.

So Morrison went back to the courtroom of Judge Ralph C. Warman, where the trial was set to begin.

But Anderson was unable to enter the courtroom because she broke down crying in the hallway.

After that, she returned to try a plea again before Solomon, then went back in front of Warman, who agreed to order a competency evaluation.

'There is a manifest need to grant the defendant's motion so that she may be evaluated prior to trial,' Warman said.

Because jurors were seated to hear the case, Warman also ordered a mistrial to allow the case to be heard again.

Anderson had been ordered to be evaluated at Mayview State Hospital after Morrison filed notice that she may seek an insanity or mental infirmity defense.

However, because she is free on bond, hospital administrators refused to admit her on two occasions.

Warman said he was uncomfortable with going forward with a trial without the evaluation being done first.

Crystal Anderson remains free on $100,000 bail as she awaits trial.

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