Judge orders Bixby committed to mental hospital

LAURENS, S.C. (AP) -- A judge has ordered a 78-year-old man charged with killing two South Carolina law enforcement officers to be committed indefinitely to a mental hospital.

Prosecutor Jerry Peace says a probate judge made the ruling Tuesday. Last week, another judge said Bixby was incompetent to stand trial because he suffers from dementia.

Authorities say Bixby and his son ambushed a sheriff's deputy and state constable in Abbeville County in 2003 over a land dispute with the state Transportation Department.

Steven Bixby has been sentenced to death. His mother is serving a life sentence because she knew what her family planned but didn't tell authorities.

Peace says Arthur Bixby will stay in jail until mental health officials decide where to place him. Peace says Bixby could be tried later if he becomes competent.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)