Mental exam shows man charged with capital murder in Arkansas fit to stand trial


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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — A man accused of fatally shooting an 18-year-old last year was declared fit for trial this week after submitting to a mental evaluation.

Darrell Dennis' court-appointed attorney said during a court appearance that Dennis can stand trial, adding that he will not challenge the finding. Dennis is charged in the May 2013 kidnapping, robbery and shooting death of Forrest Abrams in Little Rock.

Prosecutors had asked for the mental exam earlier this year, after Dennis asked to represent himself at a trial scheduled for September.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza ordered the test after the prosecution noted an unrelated, pending case. The conviction in that case may be tossed, because a judge didn't follow the required procedures before declining a defendant's request to represent himself.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1ksZR03 ), Dennis was free at the time despite multiple felony charges and parole violations. He was arrested less than 30 hours after his release from Pulaski County jail.

Dennis' parole-violation history has led to a review of the state's parole system and to a change in leadership and policy. It's also led to a backlog of state inmates being housed in county jails, including Pulaski County's, the newspaper reported.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com

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