gregory roy

Gregory Roy

A Niagara County Court judge on Friday ordered Gregory Roy, a Porter man accused of killing his step-father, to be committed to Rochester Psychiatric Center for up to one year, after two psychologists found Roy was not competent to stand trial.

If psychiatric center staff deem Roy competent, he could be returned to Niagara County Court to stand trial for murder.

Roy’s mental condition has been in question for months, after defense attorneys raised concern that Roy had stopped aiding in his defense. 

This past June, a panel of three psychologists found Roy competent to stand trial, shortly before he was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Rudy Ray Rockett Sr.

Roy, 30, of Lake Road, is accused of shooting Rockett, 64, on April 29, 2018, while driving him to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, where Rockett was scheduled to board a flight home to Los Angeles.

Roy was taken into custody the next day on weapons charges after deputies found an unregistered 9mm handgun in the glove compartment of his mother's car.

Roy's mother told investigators that her son was supposed to drive Rockett to the airport for his flight to Los Angeles on April 29. After a three-week search, police found Rockett Sr.'s body May 19 in a heavily forested area of East Otto.

However, defense attorney Joseph Catalano told Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon on Feb. 1 that Roy's mental condition has deteriorated since his arrest because he has refused to take his medications, including Zoloft and Risperdal.

Sheldon ordered that Roy undergo a second mental health evaluation March 22. After that evaluation, two psychologists, Dr. Melissa Heffler and Dr. Brian Joseph, found Roy was competent to stand trial for murder.

But upon evaluating Roy again April 11, Heffler and Joseph reversed course and advised that Roy be placed at Rochester Psychiatric Center until he is competent to stand trial.

Sheldon said Roy has refused to take his medication at Niagara County Jail, which she called a "recurring problem." 

"It's a mixed bag. He apparently understands what he's facing, what the proceedings are all about. ... But he's not working with his lawyers," Sheldon said.

At least one psychiatrist has found that Roy's refusal to take his medications consistently may have contributed to the murder.

Catalano said Feb. 1 that Dr. Evelyn Coggins, a psychiatrist with Erie County Medical Center, had determined that Roy was off his anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medications for about three months before he allegedly killed Rockett.

Coggins evaluated Roy beginning in November to allow Roy's attorneys to prepare a psychiatric defense at trial.

Roy's refusal to take his medications apparently worried his parents in the months before Rockett's death.

In January, Roy's biological father filed a complaint against his son, resulting in New York State Supreme Court Justice Paula Feroleto ordering Roy to be committed to Erie County Medical Center. Roy remained at ECMC for three weeks, took his medication and showed improvement, according to Catalano.

"(His behavior) leveled off with his meds," Catalano said previously.

But Roy stopped taking his medications shortly after his release from ECMC, Catalano added.