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Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014
Crime & Courts

Attorneys: Accused killer of UT student might be mentally incompetent

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TAMPA — Attorneys for a man charged with murdering University of Tampa student Ryan McCall say their client might not be mentally competent to stand trial.

David Earl Williams is scheduled to have a competency hearing before Circuit Judge Chritstopher Sabella next week.

Williams is accused of shooting McCall, a runner on the university’s cross country team, at the foot of the Eugene Holtsinger Bridge on North Boulevard about a mile from the UT campus on Aug. 19, 2009.

At least one court-appointed expert has concluded Williams is competent to proceed in court.

Williams told detectives he confronted McCall and McCall’s roommate, Michael Harahan, at the foot of the bridge, according to an arrest report. He said he hit Harahan on the head with a gun, then robbed him, an arrest report said. Williams told detectives he went through both of the students’ pockets but said another man shot and killed McCall, the report said.

Williams was arrested May 23, 2012, at a South Florida prison, where he was serving a sentence on unrelated charges.

In court filings, defense lawyer Christopher Boldt says he has “reason to believe defendant is not mentally competent to stand trial.” Although he does not give details, he says Williams “has a significant history of mental health treatment.”

The court appointed psychologist Monica Epstein and psychiatrist Donald Taylor to examine Williams and report back. Their reports are in the court file but are deemed confidential.

Taylor wrote a letter to the court saying he reviewed recordings provided by the prosecution of jailhouse conversations between Williams and other people, including his mother and his grandparents.

“He briefly discussed aspects of his case, including the charges and possible penalties,” Taylor wrote. “He presented with no evidence of confusion or cognitive impairment. It remains my opinion that the defendant is competent to proceed.”

esilvestrini@tampatrib.com

813-259-7837

Twitter: @ElaineTBO

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