The fourth suspect allegedly involved in the 2008 shooting on the University of Central Arkansas campus has been deemed competent to stand trial in April.
Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson submitted a letter of opinion rejecting claims that Perry is mentally incompetent following the testimony of a clinical psychologist last week.
According to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Charles Finkenbinder, Clawson’s ruling allows the state to seek the death penalty if Perry is convicted.
Finkenbinder said the case is clear for trial now, however, the defense could bring up another issue before the scheduled trial date.
Perry, 21, has undergone two separate mental evaluations in the last year. Following a mental evaluation by the state, the defense requested in May that an independent mental evaluation of Perry be conducted. After differences were found in the two evaluations, an order was filed in October seeking clarification of the evaluation results.
Perry, along with Brandon R. Wade, Mario LaVelle Toney and Kawin Jerod Brockman, allegedly drove onto the UCA campus on Oct. 26, 2008, and one of them fired eight shots into a crowd gathered outside of Arkansas Hall. Two students, 18-year-old Ryan Henderson of Little Rock and 19-year-old Chavares Block of Dermott, were killed. One non-student was injured.
Capt. Justin Tapley of the UCA Police Department said during pretrial proceedings in 2008 and 2009 that investigators with his department had reason to believe, based on statements from the other defendents, that it was Perry who pulled the trigger.
Wade, Toney and Brockman pleaded no contest to three counts of committing a terroristic act on Nov. 8.
Wade, who prosecutors alleged was the driver of the vehicle, was sentenced to 26 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections with 40 years suspended imposition of sentence.
Toney and Brockman were each sentenced to 18 years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections with 40 years suspended.
All three men will be required to testify against Perry.
Perry is charged with two counts of capital murder, one count of attempted capital murder, eight counts of committing a terroristic act, one count of possession of a firearm on public school property, one count of discharge of a firearm from a vehicle and one count of possession of firearms by certain persons.
Perry is being held without bond at the Faulkner County Detention Center.
(Staff writer Stephanie Fischer can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1238. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)