A competency hearing has been set for a man charged with first-degree murder and third-degree arson.
Mark Anthony Neal, 22, is being held without bail on charges for the shooting death of Frank Wendell Owens II, 22, Bokchito, and also burning his pickup.
A competency hearing is to determine if a defendant is mentally competent to stand trial and understands the charges.
According to court papers, Neal’s attorney, D. Michael Haggerty II, has reason to believe that Neal is incompetent to stand trial due to a lengthy history of mental illness, mental retardation and substance abuse.
Special Associate District Judge Trace Sherrill ordered a mental evaluation for Neal and set a competency hearing for him on Sept. 16.
Neal was arrested July 28 following an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office.
According to an affidavit by OSBI Agent Reanae Childers, Owens was found severely injured July 27 on the Blue River Bridge on Old Highway 70, and he died a short time later from a gun-shot wound to the head.
The affidavit states that Childers and Sheriff’s Investigator John Haislip spoke with Owens’ father, James Owens, who said his son borrowed his pickup and a .17-caliber rifle that he thought was made by Savage and that it had an image of an Indian on it.
According to a cell-phone display, James Owens called the younger Owens at 9:56 that evening and talked to a man who was not his son.
Childers questioned Neal, and according to the affidavit, he admitted to being with Owens on the Blue River Bridge and speaking with James Owens on the phone. He also said he was present when Owens was shot, but he denied shooting him.
Shannon Posey told Investigator Haislip that Neal, her son, admitted to her that he shot Owens, according to the affidavit, and two people told investigators they overheard Neal tell his mother he shot Owens.
Another suspect, Craig Becker, 31, was arrested and charged with accessory to murder after the fact.
OSBI spokesperson Gary Perkinson said evidence revealed Becker was involved in the burning of the pickup that was discovered at approximately 2:15 a.m. July 28 east of the Blue River Bridge where Owens had been shot.