Competency trial underway
A Franklin County jury heard opening statements Tuesday morning in the mental competency trial of a local man charged with the murder of his father and stepmother and the assault of his stepmother’s sister and a cousin in September 2011.
Michael McLemore, 28, formerly of Ruby Road in Phil Campbell, was charged with two counts of capital murder in the shooting deaths of Ricky Hodge, 56, and Connie Hodge, 59, and two counts of attempted murder of Marcia Smith, 57, and Royce Riddle, 63, Franklin County District Attorney Joey Rushing said.
Rushing said this week’s mental competency trial will only determine if McLemore is able to stand trial for his alleged role in the crimes.
Jurors will have three options once evidence from the state and from defense attorney Rebecca Thomason has been presented: that McLemore is competent to stand trial; that he is incompetent due to mental disease or defect but there is a substantial probability that he would be restored to competency within a reasonable period of time; or that he is incompetent as a result of mental disease or defect and there is not a substantial probability that he would be restored to competency in a reasonable period of time.
Rushing said the competency trial is scheduled to last two days.
According to reports, the alleged crimes in question took place at 7:50 a.m. on Sept. 10, 2011, at the Ruby Road trailer where McLemore was reported to live with the two couples.
Franklin County Sheriff Shannon Oliver said the incident was allegedly fueled by a disagreement over money between McLemore and his father.
According to reports, McLemore asked his father for money but when Ricky Hodge refused to give him any money, McLemore is accused of using a .22 caliber rifle to shoot his father near the kitchen hallway of the trailer.
Reports indicate Connie Hodge was shot while she was still in bed.
Oliver said it appears McLemore used a claw hammer to then assault Smith and Riddle who were in a back bedroom and were awakened by the shots.
Smith and Riddle were transported to Russellville Hospital where they were treated for their injuries and later released. Oliver said McLemore admitted to his involvement in the crimes after going to a neighbor’s house about 500 feet away and calling 911.
McLemore was taken into custody when officers arrived at the scene and transported to the Franklin County Jail.
District Judge Paula McDowell denied his bond at a Sept. 12, 2011 hearing and McLemore remained at the Franklin County Jail until June 2013 when he was transferred to the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility where he has remained since that time.
If found competent to stand trial, McLemore faces life in prison or the death penalty if convicted of the capital murder charges.