FARMINGTON — The former Wilton man accused of beating his grandmother to death with a hammer just over a year ago is scheduled to change his plea to the criminal charge next week after earlier pleading not guilty.

Dana Craney, 23, was arrested on Dec. 21, 2014, and charged with murdering his grandmother, Joanne Goudreau, 67. Police found her body behind the mobile home they shared at 1130 Weld Road in Wilton under a pile of plywood and other debris. She had been killed the day before Craney’s arrest.

Craney is scheduled to enter his plea at 1 p.m. Jan. 4 before Justice Robert Mullen at Franklin County District Court, said his attorney, Woody Hanstein.

Mullen tentatively has set a trial date for June, though depending on Craney’s plea, the trial process could begin sooner.

Hanstein said earlier this month, that with a March 1 plea deadline looming, Craney must begin deciding whether he wants to plead guilty, not guilty, or not criminally responsible by reason of insanity, as well as whether to have a jury or a bench trial.

The decision to enter a plea on Jan. 4 was made completely by Craney, Hanstein said, though the attorney would not say what the plea would be. At his Jan. 30 arraignment, Craney entered a plea of not guilty.

According to the police affidavit filed Dec. 21, Craney admitted to beating Goudreau in the head six or seven times with a hammer while she slept and then took her body behind the mobile home where they lived and covered her body with debris, intending to dispose of her remains later.

Since his arrest, Craney has been held without bail at the Franklin County Jail in Farmington, as well as at Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta, where Hanstein requested he be transferred after telling the court last year that Craney may have “significant mental health issues” and was having problems at the jail. Over the last year, Craney has undergone two rounds of competence evaluations and a criminal responsibility evaluation, which was completed over the summer.

The first competence evaluation was conducted earlier this year at Riverview Psychiatric Center. After a few months of observation, he was transferred back to the jail.

In September, Mullen filed a court order approving a request filed by Hanstein for Craney to undergo additional competence testing to be conducted by the State Forensic Service. Hanstein said this most recent evaluation has been completed.

In his Sept. 9 motion for the additional evaluation, Hanstein said that when he met with Craney, Craney was “absolutely unable to be focused as to the options that might be available to him to resolve the case,” Hanstein wrote. “His mood and speech became so pressured that he was unable to work with me or even converse with me about the topic at hand.”

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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