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Man accused of attempted homicide
Gregory Frechette sits next to his attorney during a preliminary hearing inside the Lafayette County Courthouse in Darlington Tuesday. (Times photo: Anthony Wahl)
DARLINGTON - The attorney for a 34-year-old Darlington man accused of attempting to kill his girlfriend by suffocating her said his client cannot comprehend the nature of the charges against him.

Gregory R. Frechette appeared Tuesday in Lafayette County Circuit Court, where his attorney Frank Medina said that due to a previous accident in which Frechette suffered a serious head injury, Frechette is unable to comprehend the seriousness of the charges and the nature of the court proceedings. Frechette is charged with one count of first-degree intentional homicide, a Class A felony, and one count of strangulation, a Class H felony.

Judge William Johnston accepted a motion to have a forensic doctor analyze Frechette to see if he is competent enough to stand trial. Medina would not elaborate on why Frechette is incapable of comprehending the court proceedings, saying only that it is tied to a previous injury.

"It's not that he doesn't understand the charges as much as it is he doesn't comprehend them. It is a very subtle thing, and that is all I can say without violating attorney-client privileges," Medina said.

The criminal complaint alleges that on Aug. 16, Frechette attempted to kill his girlfriend by at first choking her and then trying to smother her with a body pillow while they were camping at Blackhawk Memorial Park. Frechette and the victim had been drinking the night of the incident and got into an argument. The argument escalated until Frechette allegedly strangled the victim, causing her to lose consciousness. Frechette then shook her awake and apologized many times, asking if she wanted to go to the hospital. The victim asked Frechette to call an ambulance and she was taken to an area hospital.

While interviewing with Lafayette County sheriff's deputies, Frechette at first denied ever choking the victim. He later rescinded and admitted to the deputies that he had tried to kill the victim and said, "I did it; I put the pillow over her face."

Frechette will remain in custody at the Lafayette County jail, where a forensic physician will analyze him. He has a preliminary hearing set for Sept. 29.