A post-evaluation competency hearing is scheduled next week for a Welling man charged in a double homicide.

Johnny Keith Potts, 21, will appear before Special District Judge Jeff Payton at 1:30 p.m. May 3. He was returned to the Cherokee County Jail Wednesday after several weeks of evaluation and treatment at a mental health facility in Vinita.

Potts was charged in July 2005 with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of William McKinley “Junior” Ryals and his wife, Elsie Ryals. The Ryalses were Potts’ neighbors in the Welling community and were also allegedly on a “hit list” investigators say Potts was keeping.

Lawrence Langley, Potts’ court-appointed attorney, and First Assistant District Attorney Donovan Dobbs agreed on the competency evaluation earlier this year.

Potts is also charged with escaping from the county jail earlier this year and assaulting officers in the process. He has been in custody since the shooting, which was investigated by sheriff’s investigators and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Payton is expected to make a determination at next week’s hearing on whether Potts’ competency has been restored and his case is ready to proceed. The cases filed against him have been on hold, awaiting the evaluation.


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