Blue River Murder suspect to be mentally evaluated

By: Ethan Hutchins Email
By: Ethan Hutchins Email

BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- A murder suspect has been granted a hearing to determine if he is competent enough to stand trial.

22 year old Mark Anthony Neal will be evaluated in a competency hearing next month to determine if he will stand trial for murder.

District Attorney Emily Redman told news 12 Friday, this is not uncommon.

"Anytime a defense attorney has a question regarding whether or not the defendant may have issues related to competency, they can ask the court for an evaluation," said Redman.

Neal is accused of shooting 22-year old Wendall Owens in the face, near Blue River Bridge off Old Highway 70 in July.

A cross now stands near where the murder happened.

Friends of Owens' say the men were apparently arguing over a girl, when his friends believe Neal shot Owens.

Neal and 31-year old Craig Becker have been in jail since the murder, awaiting trial.

Redman says sometimes an initial mental evaluation may not be enough.

"If the evaluator finds out the defendant is not competent, they answer another question, and that is, are they capable of achieving competence," said Redman.

Friday, we learned that Neal has been mentally evaluated before.

Back in 2011, online court records state Neal pled guilty to a deferred sentence for calling in a bomb threat to the Bryan County courthouse.

He claimed a bomb was hidden under a Sheriff's office patrol car.

The plea came after the court granted Neal another competency hearing.

Court records state, following the trial, Neal was supposed to undergo mental treatment.


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