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Prisoner accused of killing correctional officer loses pretrial appeal

One of two prisoners facing capital murder charges in the fatal stabbing of a correctional officer lost a pretrial appeal Friday at the state's highest court.

Lawyers for Lamar Cornelius Harris had argued that Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul A. Hackner was wrong to say that mental health care records and testimony of the psychiatrist who was treating Harris could be used by prosecutors at a court proceeding in which a judge would decide if Harris was mentally fit to stand trial. The Court of Appeals ruled that Harris is not entitled to a pretrial appeal on the question.

That would leave an appeal to be heard after Harris's trial — if there is one — in the July 2006 slaying of correctional officer David McGuinn at the House of Correction. The prison has since been closed.

In 2008, a state psychiatrist's opinion was that Harris was not mentally fit for trial, but appeals blocked the hearing. Defendants found incompetent for trial are hospitalized and periodically re-evaluated for a new decision on the issue.

Andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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