Man Accused of Double Murder Back In Court

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

A Martin County man accused of shooting three people last year, killing two of them, is ruled competent to stand trial.

A judge made the decision Thursday afternoon after getting the results of Billy Sartin's mental evaluation.

There was no dispute in court 47 year old William Starr, also known as Billy Sartin, suffers from mental illness. Doctors say he has been in and out of treatment hospitals most of his life. The only question was whether he is competent for a murder trial.

"His thought process was fine that he could understand what you were saying. He could make reasonable responses to you on subjects," said Psychiatrist Dr. Timothy Allen.

He's accused of shooting Jeffrey Mattox, Billy Proctor, and Sue Collins in September. Mattox and Proctor died. A judge ordered the mental evaluation after he was arrested.

The doctor who conducted the evaluation testified he has paranoid schizophrenia and delusions. He's been ruled incompetent for trial on other arrests in the past, but this time, with the murder charges, the psychiatrist feels Sartin is competent.

"Mr. Sartin, despite his chronic psychotic disorder, currently has the capacity to appreciate the nature of the proceedings against him and can participate rationally in his own defense," Dr. Allen said.

Defense attorneys were unhappy with the ruling that Sartin was competent to stand trial.

"I think the judge listened to evidence and made a reasonable, rational decision. Obviously I disagree with that decision. I wouldn't say I'm disappointed, but it's clear Mr. Starr is a very, very sick man," said Defense Attorney Theodore Shouse.

The doctor says Sartin must stay on anti-psychotic medication for a trial. Sartin's family and the victims' families all declined comment.

The judge and attorneys will hold a pre-trial conference next month to discuss any possible plea deals and the trial.

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