Asheville Murder Suspect Found Incompetent to Stand Trial

A man charged with murdering an Asheville real estate broker will not stand trial, at least for now.

A judge ruled James Norton mentally incompetent to stand trial and unable to participate in his own defense.

Norton is accused of stabbing Christina Kessinger, 62, known as Tina, in the head last February with a screw driver.

Tina’s friends say the crime was random and that Tina did not know Norton. They say they want to see Norton in court.

Friend Myrick Ashley, “it would be interesting to know what the state psychiatrist was up to what kind of tests were taking place. And how we got to this evaluation because I’ve heard he’s not the only one who’s left the prison system to fill beds in our state mental places.”

Kessinger’s family also reacting to the decision, in a statement her sister said, “I believe as soon as Norton is competent he should be brought to trial for the murder of my sister, and I have discussed that with the DA.”

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Tina Kessinger’s body was found in a dumpster at 56 Central Avenue at around 4:30 p.m. on February 12, 2016.

According to court documents, after stabbing her with a screwdriver, James Norton stole her vehicle. Norton later showed up at his mother’s home in Marshall at around midnight. The next day, when Norton’s mother saw a vehicle she did not recognize on her property, she called the sheriff’s office.

Norton has a long criminal history in Madison County, from stealing cars and credit cards to breaking and entering and drug charges. His criminal past dates back to when he was 17 years old.