A trial is further delayed for Sampson Oguntope, accused of murder and assault in 2012. The 23 year old Texas Tech student was arrested 6 years ago. A trial is still an unknown for friends and family members of victims in Slaton.
Chuck Lanehart was interviewed on the case by KLBK Lubbock. At issue is a defendant’s competency, or ability to stand trial. For a fair trial to happen, a defendant must be able to participate and have a rational understanding of charges.
According to Chuck Lanehart, Oguntope has been found not competent, four previous times and was sent to Vernon State Mental Hospital. Finding a defendant incompetent is a collaborative process between the defense and prosecution. Both sides have to agree on the length and terms and it can be a difficult and lengthy process.
For the defense, key witnesses need to be present and having a defendant capable of participation can help argue a case. For the prosecution, competency is required or a verdict could be appealed and overturned.
Competency rulings are required to stand trial, to plead guilty and on all death penalty cases. As of February 2018, Oguntope is being held in the Lubbock County Detention Center on a 5 million bond