Jury Decides Capital Murder Suspect Competent For Trial

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WACO (January 9, 2014) A 19th District Court jury, after about two hours of deliberation on Thursday, determined a Port Arthur man is competent to stand trial for his wife’s murder.

Us Carnell Petetan, 37, is charged with capital murder in the September 23, 2012 shooting death of Kimberley Petetan, 44, who police say was repeatedly shot during a heated argument at the Landing Apartments in the 2500 block of East Lake Shore Drive.

Petetan’s trial date is set for April with jury selection to begin in February.

District Attorney Abel Reyna said his office is seeking the death penalty and is prepared to go to trial.

Defense attorney Russ Hunt, Sr., said he is disappointed with the verdict.

Testimony in the competency trial began Wednesday morning and lasted into Thursday morning before the jury retired to deliberate.

Attorneys for Petetan called their expert psychiatric witness to the stand Wednesday who presented both studies and IQ tests and testified that Petetan is mentally incapable to stand trial.

The psychiatrist went as far as to call Petetan mentally challenged.

Prosecuting attorney's for the McLennan County District Attorney's Office called on their expert psychiatric witness who testified that Petetan is competent to stand trial.

He also presented studies and IQ tests as well.

Petetan has been remained in the McLennan County Jail on a $1 million bond charged with capital murder and without bond on a state prison parole violation, jail records showed.

Petetan has been in custody since his arrest the day after the deadly shooting when he was stopped on a traffic violation in Bryan and officers discovered he was named in a arrest warrant.

Police also recovered Kimberley Petetan's 9-year-old daughter, who police say was abducted from the scene of the shooting the day before.

She wasn't harmed.

The Petetans were married, but weren't living together at the time of the shooting, police said.

Petetan was originally indicted in November, 2012 and was then re-indicted a month later.

Matt Howerton and John Carroll contributed to this story.