Bolivar man found “not guilty by reason of insanity” in Attempted Murder case


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A Bolivar-area man, 70-year-old Donald Whiting, who was charged with attempted murder and felonious assault for firing shots at a sheriff’s deputy and other law enforcement officers, has been found not guilty by reason of insanity. This decision was made by Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Thomakos after considering the opinions of two forensic psychologists.

The charges against Whiting stemmed from a standoff that occurred at his residence on Russell Drive Northwest two years ago. The incident began when a deputy visited Whiting’s home to discuss a disturbing letter he had left in a neighbor’s mailbox. Officials say the situation escalated when Whiting fled the scene in his pickup truck and eventually crashed on state Route 800.

During the bench trial on Monday afternoon, Assistant Prosecutor Fred Scott acknowledged that the details of the case were well-known and that Whiting had waived his right to a jury trial. Both the prosecution and the defense had reached an agreement on the presentation of evidence and stipulations.

Whiting had previously been deemed mentally unfit to understand the charges against him and assist in his defense. However, his competency was later restored with medication. Currently, he has been residing at an inpatient psychiatric facility in Massillon. Another evaluation will now be conducted at the facility to determine the appropriate course of action for Whiting going forward.

The forensic psychologists who assessed Whiting’s mental state during the time of the crimes concluded that he was suffering from a severe mental illness that hindered his ability to comprehend the “wrongfulness of his actions.”

Further proceedings will take place following the completion of the additional assessment to determine the appropriate measures for Whiting’s future.