The attorney for accused double-murder suspect Johnny Keith Potts has given notice he intends to use an insanity defense when the case goes to trial.

Lawrence Langley, court-appointed to represent Potts, filed a notice this week in Cherokee County District Court indicating Potts, 22, will raise an insanity defense. A trial date has not been set, but is expected to be prior to the end of the year.

A motion hearing was set Thursday in the case, but neither side has filed motions.

Potts is charged with the July 25, 2005, shooting deaths of William McKinley “Junior” Ryals and his wife, Elsie Ryals. Potts has been in custody since the day of the shooting.

The Court of Criminal Appeals last month reversed a Sallisaw man’s double-murder convictions and ordered the court to enter a not guilty verdict by reason of insanity. Daniel Hawke Fears remains incarcerated while prosecutors ask the court to reconsider the decision.

Competency has previously been raised in the Potts case. Special District Judge Jeff Payton earlier ruled Potts was competent to stand trial. The insanity defense will, however, suggest that Potts was insane at the time of the shootings.

First Assistant District Attorney Donovan Dobbs, who is prosecuting the case, said each side has expert witnesses to testify on the sanity issue.


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