A Modesto man accused of killing a woman with a toilet tank lid remains at a state hospital, where doctors are trying to help him restore his competency to face criminal charges in Stanislaus County.
Cody Ray Clayton’s mental health treatment continues at Atascadero State Hospital in San Luis Obispo County, nearly six months after the court determined the defendant was not mentally competent to understand criminal court procedures or assist his attorney in his own defense.
About a month before the judge suspended the case, Clayton made his first appearance in court. Prosecutors charged Clayton with murder in the death of Barbara McClure. The 58-year-old woman’s body was found on the morning of Feb. 19 inside a Modesto motel room along South Ninth Street.
On Tuesday morning, Deputy Public Defender Benjamin Rosenstein and Deputy District Attorney Brad Nix received a report from doctors at the state hospital. The report indicated that Clayton’s competency had not yet been restored, said Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Rubén Villalobos.
Clayton, 25, did not appear in court Tuesday. He will remain at the state hospital at least for another six months. Villalobos scheduled another hearing March 28, when the court will ask the state hospital for another status report on Clayton’s treatment. His murder case remains suspended.
Authorities say Clayton used the porcelain toilet tank lid to beat McClure to death. In the criminal complaint filed Feb. 23, the defendant also faces enhancements to the murder charge of acting with premeditation and using a deadly weapon – the porcelain toilet tank lid.
Rosenstein, Clayton’s court-appointed attorney, has entered a not guilty plea on behalf of his client and denied the enhancements.
McClure was found in a room at the Budget Inn motel. The criminal complaint indicates the woman was killed on or about Feb. 19, but no further details about her death have been released by authorities. It’s unclear whether McClure was staying in the motel room.
Clayton was taken into custody after Stanislaus County sheriff’s detectives received a tip from the Modesto Police Department regarding the homicide investigation.
The prosecutor has said in court that McClure suffered “a very savage beating.” Nix also has argued that there were signs of “anger that cannot be explained.”