Man accused of killing girlfriend near Madisonville ruled unfit to stand trial

Johnathan Nall, an Alabama man accused of killing his girlfriend near Madisonville and a few hours later holding deputies at bay for two hours by threatening to shoot himself, was found unfit to stand trial by a judge Friday morning, a spokesman for 22nd Judicial District Attorney Walter Reed said.

District Judge August Hand ruled Nall incompetent and ordered him sent to a treatment facility, spokesman Rick Wood said. Nall will be re-evaluated in 90 days, Wood said.

Nall, 34, is accused of killing Melinda Denny, his 26-year-old girlfriend, sometime in the morning hours of Feb. 22, after deputies had checked on the pair following a call from Nall’s mother. Deputies found the couple about 1:30 a.m. parked in a Winn-Dixie parking lot. Both said they were fine, and deputies let them go.

Around noon the same day, Nall showed up at a Goodbee-area gas station, holding a gun to his head and demanding to talk to someone from the government. The resulting standoff lasted two hours before Nall was subdued.

Deputies found the couple’s car in a nearby neighborhood, but Denny could not be located.

Evidence in the car led detectives to suspect foul play, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain said at the time. A massive search for the woman was launched, including more than 100 deputies who at times were brought into the search area by school bus. Her body was found five days later in a field off Brewster Road near Madisonville. She had been stabbed several times.

Nall was already in custody at that time on counts stemming from the standoff at the gas station, but Strain called him “incoherent” and indicated that getting information from him was difficult. Strain said then that Nall would be evaluated for mental illness.

In the days after the standoff, Nall’s mother, Becky, told WWL-TV that she believed her son needed treatment for bipolar disorder and that she had called police to ask them to consider having him committed.