Murder suspect can stand trial

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, October 5, 2013

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A man accused of brutally killing his mother earlier this year has been found competent to stand trial.

Kirk Heithecker

According to a report on file in the district clerk’s office, Kirk Heithecker, 49, of Decatur was admitted to North Texas State Hospital in Vernon in June for evaluation and treatment. Last month, the hospital issued its opinion.

“After a period of observation and treatment, the defendant has been evaluated for competency to stand trial,” the report states. “It is the opinion of the evaluator that the defendant is currently competent to stand trial.”

District Attorney Greg Lowery pointed out that being found competent to stand trial does not mean that Heithecker could not claim insanity at the time of the murder as a defense. What it means is that Heithecker has been found to have the ability to understand, at this time, right from wrong and the charge against him, can answer questions for himself in court and help his attorney with his defense.

The hospital’s report also said Heithecker should continue taking medications including Depakote and Risperdal. According to its website, Depakote is used to treat acute manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, seizures and migraine headaches. Risperdal is used for the treatment of schizophrenia and for long-term treatment of Bipolar I Disorder, according to information on its website.

Heithecker was indicted for murder in July.

Investigators said Heithecker killed his mother sometime over the Mother’s Day weekend inside the home they shared south of Decatur. In the arrest affidavit, investigators said Heithecker told them he “had killed his mother with his heel and was sending her to hell.” Officers found the body of Nancy Heithecker, 75, under a pile of trash in the front yard.

An autopsy revealed she died from “homicidal violence” including blunt force trauma and strangulation.

Kirk Heithecker remains in custody with bond set at $1 million.

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