logo
Blog single photo

Jury Nixes

A jury has cleared the way for criminal proceedings to resume against an Oklahoma City man accused of shooting and beheading his grandmother and her husband.

The six jurors rejected a defense claim that Quinton D. Mr. Laster is incompetent to face trial. Mr. Laster, now 23, “fully confessed” to shooting his grandmother and her husband.

The six jurors on Tuesday rejected a defense claim that Quinton D. Mr. Laster is incompetent to face trial.

Mr. Laster, now 23, “fully confessed” to shooting his grandmother and her husband and cutting off their heads, police reported after his arrest on Feb. 9, 2016.

His case has been on hold in Oklahoma County District Court more than two years because of questions about his mental state. He was sent to a state mental facility in Vinita for evaluation.

“It’s time to move forward with this case,” Assistant District Attorney Ryan Stephenson told jurors.

The attack with multiple weapons happened at the couple’s north Oklahoma City home, which was used as a day care. Police officers found three children inside the day care area, a converted garage, when they arrived. The children were unharmed.

Killed were Sharon Reed, 59, and her husband, James Earl “JR” Reed, 78. At the time, Reed’s sister described the scene as “a bloody mess everywhere.” Mr. Laster faces two counts of first -degree murder. During the competency trial, Mr. Laster’s attorneys argued that he suffers from schizophrenia, is unable to understand court proceedings and cannot assist his attorneys in his defense.

In her closing argument, Melanie Freeman-Johnson, an assistant public defender, told the jury that Mr. Laster’s “treatment teams” reported he hears voices, talks to himself and couldn’t remember the specifics of the crime.

Mr. Laster has “difficulty grasping the reality of the situation,” Freeman Johnson told jurors.

The prosecutor, Stephenson, argued that the case wasn’t about Mr. Laster’s mental illness but whether he had the ability to understand what he is charged with and the nature of the court proceedings.

Stephenson said Mr. Laster’s mother coached her son to act like he was incompetent to face trial “because they don’t want to see Baby Boy go to prison.”

The state mental health experts who evaluated Mr. Laster concluded he is competent and has the ability to be educated about court proceedings, Stephenson told jurors.

If he had been found incompetent, Mr. Laster would have been sent back to the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita for treatment.

Quinton Laster

..To read more, subscribe to the blackchronicle newspaper

Top