Crime

Competency in question for teen accused of killing mom, sister

Two years after 17-year-old Jake Evans called 911 and said he had killed his mother and 15-year-old sister inside their Parker County home, the case is on hold as his mental competency is questioned.

Larry Moore, Evans’ court-appointed attorney, filed a motion Sept. 12 requesting that a jury determine whether Evans, now 19, is competent to stand trial.

In an affidavit, Moore said the defense had Evans examined by a forensic psychologist who concluded that the teen is not competent to stand trial. Moore wrote that his own observations and dealings with Evans lead him to believe the same.

On Sept. 18, state District Judge Graham Quisenberry ordered that Evans be examined by Dr. Jim Womack to determine competency.

Moore also filed a motion last month indicating that, when the case does go to trial, he intends to introduce evidence that Evans was insane at the time of the slayings.

Evans was arrested Oct. 4, 2012, after calling 911 and telling the dispatcher, “Uh, I just killed my mom and my sister.”

“I felt like they were just suffocating me, in a way,” he said, according to a recording of the call. “Obviously, you know, I’m pretty, I guess, evil.”

Parker County deputies responding to the 150 block of River Creek Lane in the town of Annetta South found Evans’ mother, 48-year-old Jami Evans, and the sister, Mallory, dead of multiple gunshot wounds.

Sheriff’s officials have said Evans stole the gun from his grandfather, a retired Fort Worth officer.

In a written statement, Evans told investigators that he had devised a plan to kill several family members after watching a horror movie about a boy who murders relatives without remorse and thinking, “It would be the same for me when I kill someone.”

He recounted that day’s events and how he carried out the shootings before ending his statement:

“I know now though that I’m done with killing. It’s the most dreadful and terrifying thing I will ever experience. And what happened last night will haunt me forever.”

Evans remains in the Parker County Jail, with bail set at $750,000.

He was indicted on a capital murder charge in December 2012.

However, the case was in legal limbo because the U.S. Supreme Court had already banned death sentences for defendants 17 and younger and later ruled that life without parole for defendants under 18 is also unconstitutional. Those were the only Texas options for teens accused of capital murder.

Moore had argued that the capital murder charge should be dropped because punishment guidelines that would apply to the teen have been ruled unconstitutional. Quisenberry denied that motion.

Moore and fellow defense attorney Mac Smith appealed to the 2nd Court of Appeals.

In July 2013, the Legislature amended capital murder sentencing statutes, allowing defendants under 18 to be punished with life in prison with parole possible after 40 years.

With that change, the Fort Worth appeals court rejected the defense attorneys’ appeal in August 2013. The case was then appealed to a higher court.

Last month, the state Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin refused a petition by the defense for discretionary review of the case.

On Thursday, Evans’ attorneys filed a new motion with the appeals court, requesting a rehearing on the discretionary-review denial.

Moore said he never imagined that two years after the slayings, a trial would still be on hold.

“But there are such profound problems with the prospect of going forward with a punishment statute that’s enacted that long after the crime is committed,” Moore said Friday.

“I may not know everything, but I know you can’t do that.”

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