Amarillo’s Labor Day Shooter Has Competency Restored; Now What?
An old criminal defense attorney I know once told me, "Out of all my clients, only the DUIs were normal people like you and me. The others....just weren't quite right."
It's something that's stuck with me through the years. While I still think it's a sweeping generalization...I have to admit that he just might be on to something.
Yesterday, I found myself wondering what the court status was for last year's Labor Day shooter, David Lee Winfield. The last I knew, Winfield had been found incompetent in December 2021, meaning that a qualified psychiatrist determined he was psychologically unstable and unable to understand the legal proceedings surrounding his (very serious) charges.
Well, it looks like as of October 28 of this year, the 19-year-old has had competency restored. Winfield faces a murder charge and four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon that stem from his alleged psychosis-induced shooting rampage in North Amarillo on September 6, 2021.
What Happens Next?
When a person is declared incompetent, they're not off the hook in any sense of the term. The main goal of the State is to provide treatment and other mental health services in order to bring the defendant "back down to earth", if you would. Re-evaluations are done within a specified period of time and if the medical expert determines that the defendant meets the criteria, competency is restored and legal proceedings resume.
So What's The Problem? Well, A Whole Lot Of Things.
The problem lies in what the future holds, and the future is uncertain. There are many scenarios that could play out in this case.
Winfield may be competent now, but if at any point of time in the proceedings he shows signs of psychosis, cognitive impairment, etc., his attorney will (rightfully so) file another motion to request another examination. If that happens, the proceedings will very likely be--once again-- put on hold.
There's just no way of telling when Winfield will receive a judgement and sentencing--if at all. It's an uncertain limbo, and David Lee Winfield is smack dab in the middle of it all.