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Posted: April 22, 2017 7:53 a.m.

Back for court: Murder suspect returns to court annually

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COVINGTON, Ga. - Vasile Chisinau Ciorba first appeared in Newton County courtroom nearly 13 years ago charged with the bludgeoning death of his wife. He was back in court Thursday for a competency hearing.

Ciorba, 63, is currently hospitalized in the forensic unit at Georgia Regional Hospital in Decatur. In 2005, he was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial for the killing and was civilly committed to a Georgia Department of Human Resources hospital. He comes back to court in Newton County once a year for a hearing.

According to The Covington News in 2004, Ciorba had come to the United States seeking medical treatment for a stroke. He had reportedly been in the country six to eight weeks before he allegedly struck his wife, Emilya, multiple times in the head with a small, yellow sledgehammer, killing her. Investigators with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) thought, at the time, the slaying might have been the result of an argument between the two. He reportedly wanted to return to Maldova, a country of the former Soviet Union, and she wanted to remain in the U.S.

News reports from 2005 say mental health experts who examined Ciorba testified that his mental disability more than likely arose from the stroke and impaired his ability to comprehend information.

According to testimony April 20 from a psychologist with Georgia Regional, Ciorba’s diagnosis and medications are unchanged from last year. In the last year, he has been allowed to leave the hospital for supervised outings to the World of Coke, a bowling alley and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. He is also a member of a garden group permitted to make supervised trips to Walmart to purchase plants and soil, etc.

Newton County Assistant District Attorney Amber Bennett argued for Ciorba’s continued hospitalization saying that should he be released and relapse, he would pose a danger to society. She also argued that due to the nature of his alleged crime, Ciorba should not have any access to tools or gardening implements.

After hearing testimony and arguments, Judge Samuel Ozburn ruled that Ciorba continues to meet the criteria for civil commitment and will remain in the custody of Georgia Regional Hospital. He also agreed with Bennett’s request to not allow Ciorba to have access to tools of any kind. 

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