An Erath County jury will begin hearing evidence Wednesday in an attempt to decide if Michael Howard, the man accused of stabbing Brandi Todd in the back at Stephenville City Park in March, is competent to stand trial.
The hearing is slated to begin mid-morning after a jury is seated in the 266th Judicial District Court. Testimony is expected to last a day to a day and a half, according to Heath Allen, Howard's court-appointed attorney.
The state and defense will both present medical experts who will testify to their findings after evaluating Howard. Allen said he is not sure if the defendant will testify.
"I don't know," Allen said. "I haven't made that decision yet."
A report released in April by Dr. Stephen Mark, of Waco, said Howard is "mentally ill" and unable to function independently or make rational decisions. Mark said although Howard was on medication at the time of the evaluation, he was "delusional."
The state then hired their own expert, Dr. J. Randall Price, to evaluate Howard.
District Attorney Jason Cashon said Price found that Howard is competent to stand trial, but declined to release details of the report.
If a jury finds Howard incompetent to stand trial, he will be sent to a medical facility in an attempt to bring him to competency.
If he is found competent, legal proceedings will resume and a jury will decide his guilt or innocence at a later date.
Howard has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and remains incarcerated in the Erath County Jail held on a $750,000 bond.