Tahlequah Daily Press

January 21, 2013

Judge approves a request for second competency exam

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — A judge has ordered a Tahlequah man to undergo a second competency evaluation to determine whether he is able to stand trial.

Justin James Walker, 27, is facing charges of larceny of an automobile, possession of firearms after conviction or during probation, possession of a controlled dangerous substance, eluding or attempting to elude a police officer, and bribing an officer.

Walker was first ordered to undergo a determination of competency last September. A mental health evaluation was completed in October, and Walker’s attorney later requested he appear before a jury in order to determine his competency.

The competency trial was set with a December date, but was called off when Walker decided to declare himself competent. He was then set to appear for a plea hearing, but his court dates were rescheduled.

Crystal Jackson, the Tahlequah attorney representing Walker, filed a request Friday asking that Walker undergo a second evaluation.

Jackson said she has talked with Walker and believes he is suffering from some form of mental illness. She believes his condition has “drastically deteriorated” since he was evaluated in October.

The court ordered Walker to be examined by a qualified forensic evaluator at the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita to determine whether he suffers from mental illness and is competent to stand trial.

Court proceedings are suspended until a judge receives the findings and determines how to continue with the case.

Police said Walker stole a 1989 Chevy truck on Aug. 25 and sped away from officers. He allegedly crashed into two other vehicles and ran on foot before being captured.

Walker then offered a Tahlequah officer $100 to let him go, according to prosecutors.