Elderly SC man accused of killing 2 won't stand trial - FOX Carolina 21

Elderly SC man accused of killing 2 won't stand trial

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Nicholas Bonelli's attorney tells his client to be quiet during a hearing. (April 2, 2013/FOX Carolina) Nicholas Bonelli's attorney tells his client to be quiet during a hearing. (April 2, 2013/FOX Carolina)
WALHALLA, SC (FOX Carolina) -

An 86-year-old man deputies said killed two women in 2012 was deemed incompetent to stand trial during a hearing on Tuesday.

FOX Carolina crews were in the courtroom where Upstate judge Cordell Maddox said Nicholas Bonelli was not currently able to stand trial.

Bonelli was arrested in November on two murder charges after Oconee County deputies said he killed  82-year-old Clarine Smith and her niece, 63-year-old Sandra Smith Myers, both of Seneca.

The victims were found inside a home on Smith Farm Road on Nov. 2. Oconee County coroner Karl Addis said Smith died from a head injury because of blunt-force trauma while Myers was stabbed in the chest.

Bonelli was also injured in the stabbing, deputies said. Addis said Bonelli was a male companion of Smith's and lived at the home with her.

Maddox said following testimony from medical professionals and experts that Bonelli was unable to assist in his defense, suffering from mental and physical disabilities. The court ordered the case proceed in Probate Court, committing Bonelli to the state's Department of Mental Health in Columbia.

"This was a tragic case where a family lost two completely innocent loved ones during a single violent afternoon. The pain and loss they have suffered is immeasurable," said Solicitor Chrissy Adams. "While it is our goal to seek justice for the family of the victims, the defendant has been found incompetent and, under South Carolina law, we cannot proceed to trial. However, the Court's ruling today will ensure that the defendant will remain in a secure facility so that he cannot cause further harm in our community."

If Bonelli is ever deemed competent by state mental health officials, Maddox said Bonelli could come back to court on the murder charges.

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