Murder trial of psychiatric patient postponed until next year in Howard County

The trial of a psychiatric patient accused of killing a fellow patient at a state psychiatric hospital has been delayed until next year, after defendant El Soudani El-Wahhabi was too ill to come to court this week.

In court Tuesday morning, Howard County Circuit Court Judge Diane O. Leasure rescheduled his trial for Feb. 27.

El-Wahhabi's weeklong trial had been scheduled to begin Monday. But when county jail officials went to his cell around 7:30 a.m., "he was found unresponsive" and taken to Howard County General Hospital, where he remained Tuesday morning, said Jack Kavanaugh, the jail's director.

El-Wahhabi is charged with killing Susan Sachs on Sept. 25, 2010. She was found dead in her bed the next morning at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup. Both were patients there.

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