Judge orders psychological screening of D.C. man charged with setting fire that killed wife

April 4, 2014

A D.C. Superior Court judge Friday ordered a psychological evaluation for a 76-year-old man charged with intentionally starting a fire to his home that killed his wife in February.

Judge Anita Josey-Herring ordered the evaluation for Robert L. Proctor to determine if Proctor should be moved from D.C. jail, where he has been held since his arrest Tuesday, to a psychiatric facility.

Proctor is charged with arson in the death of his 80-year-old wife, Lucille Proctor, after police say he set fire to their home in the 4600 block of Fourth Street NW on Feb. 13. It was unclear whether he would face additional ­charges. Although authorities say Lucille Proctor died from thermal burns and smoke inhalation, the medical examiner has not yet issued a homicide ruling in her death.

During a hearing Friday, a detective testified that family members said Robert Proctor had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disease in the past, but had stopped taking his medication regularly before the fire. Authorities said they found ignitable liquids on Proctor’s jacket and boots.

Proctor, who had been hospitalized in the past for mental illness, allegedly told police after the fire that he and his wife constantly argued, that she refused to divorce him and that he believed she was having an affair with a neighbor.

Another hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

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Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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