By Pat Pratt
A man accused of murder and arson in Troy will undergo a mental fitness exam to determine his ability to stand trial.
Michael Sloan Jr., 40, is currently held in Madison County Jail without the possibility of bond on charges of murder, attempted murder and aggravated arson. Court docket entries show on Dec. 1 he entered a plea of not guilty to those charges.
The following day, Sloan filed a substitution of counsel with the court, replacing defense attorney Justin Kuehn with defense attorney Brian Polinske. A motion to determine mental fitness was then filed by Polinske, who wrote he consulted with Sloan and had a “bona fide” doubt regarding his ability to stand trial.
“The defendant’s attorney has discussed the case with the client and believes the defendant may be suffering from a mental health disorder that renders him unable to understand the nature of a trial, to assist his counsel with preparation for trial, and his role as a defendant in the criminal justice system,” the motion reads.
Polinske requested in the motion that an expert examine Sloan. Madison County Associate Judge Neil Schroeder that day granted the motion, noting his order was entered with the consent of Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Maricle, who is assigned to the case. Schroder ordered the evaluation be conducted by Dr. Daniel Cuneo inside the county jail.
In November, Sloan was denied a motion to have his bond reduced from $1 million to $400,000. The basis of that motion was Sloan was seeking additional treatment for burns sustained in the fire he is accused of setting, which claimed the life of 69-year-old Susanne Tomlinson of Troy.
Prior to her death, Sloan was dating Tomlinson’s daughter. On Sept. 22, he allegedly bound Tomlinson’s daughter with zip ties and poured gasoline on her, resulting in the attempted murder charge. After she was able to escape, he went to Susanne Tomlinson’s duplex in the 500 block of Wood Thrush Street in Troy and set the residence on fire, according to court documents.
A trial date is pending.