This article was published in the Lenoir News-Topic.
Cory Travis Vanover has been off his medication since he was arrested and accused of killing Michael Wade Taylor in a fight in January, his lawyer says, and it shows.
In Caldwell Superior Court for a hearing on Tuesday, Vanover’s eyes twitched, his tongue clicked and his head jerked from side to side.
Ted Cummings, Vanover’s court-appointed attorney, told the judge Vanover suffers from Tourette syndrome, a condition that causes a person to make repeated, quick movements and sounds, or “tics.” People with Tourette can sometimes suppress their tics temporarily but typically cannot control them for any length of time.
Vanover was on medication before his arrest, Cummings told the judge.
Cummings asked the judge to ensure that Vanover was examined at the jail in order to resume his medication and make communication between Cummings and Vanover simpler. Several times during the brief court hearing on Tuesday, Cummings had to ask Vanover to repeat himself.
“It would very much facilitate our ability to communicate in a seamless fashion,” Cummings told the judge.
The body of Michael Wade Taylor, a homeless man from Lenoir, was found Jan. 24 near a makeshift campsite behind the Lenoir Mall. Taylor, 28, died as a result of several injuries he appeared to have received in a fight, police said.
Vanover, 24, of Morganton, was charged with first-degree murder.
Taylor and Vanover were often seen together around Lenoir and at the Lenoir Soup Kitchen. After his arrest, Vanover told two reporters for Charlotte TV stations — WSOC’s Dave Faherty and WBTV’s Steve Ohnesorge — that he beat Taylor to death because of an unwanted sexual advance.
“I was inebriated, the man made a sexual pass toward me and I was so drunk that I didn’t make the right decision,” Vanover told Ohnesorge.