Man Accused of Killing 2 Detroit PD Officers Deemed Competent To Stand Trial


Detroit (AP) -- A judge ruled Thursday that a man accused of killing two Detroit police officers is mentally competent to stand trial.

Eric Marshall, 23, is charged with the shooting deaths of officers Matthew Bowens, 21, and Jennifer Fettig, 26.

"There has been nothing at all to indicate Mr. Marshall has a mental illness," Wayne County assistant prosecutor Elizabeth Walker said in her closing at Thursday's competency hearing before 36th District Judge Jeanette O'Banner-Owens.

Marshall's preliminary examination is scheduled for July 13 in district court.

Fettig and Bowens were shot during a traffic stop early in the morning on Feb. 16. Bowens, 21, was pronounced dead upon arrival at a Detroit hospital, while Fettig, 26, died later in the day.

Marshall was charged with the crime the next day. Judge Mark A. Randon ordered a psychiatric exam following a request by Kerry Jackson, Marshall's attorney.

The results of one exam were released in early May by the state Center for Forensic Psychiatry. Jackson then asked for another doctor retained by him to examine Marshall.

But Jackson said Thursday he was unable to get another doctor to agree to evaluate Marshall due to the high-profile nature of the case.

The evaluation by Dr. Richard Rickman at the state center found that Marshall was competent to stand trial. Rickman noted that Marshall may suffer from some behavior disorders, but nothing that would meet the state's criteria for mental illness, or prevent him from understanding instructions.

As many as five Detroit officers stood around Marshall in the court proceeding -- a measure the prosecution said was necessary for safety. Jackson protested the measure as gratuitous intimidation, but the judge allowed it.

Marshall did little but look down at the table during the hearing, but jerked to his feet and cursed a few times as the judge was making her ruling. He was forcefully removed from the courtroom by four officers.

Rickman testified that Marshall laid on the floor and cried at times during his examination in March and that he generally was uncooperative. However, Rickman said he didn't display similar behavior at the Wayne County jail according to statements from jail officials and another doctor.

"It is my opinion that he is competent to stand trial," Rickman said.

In cross-examination, however, Rickman revealed that Marshall's sister had told the psychologist during an interview that her brother had an obsession with demons, generally was considered odd, and that she had told her mother that he needed treatment.

Jackson said during trial he will be calling more than a dozen witnesses to testify that Marshall was mentally disturbed and needed help, but never had received treatment.

James Bowens, Matthew Bowens' father, said he was pleased with the hearing and confident that Marshall would be convicted.

"I'm just sad they can't have the death penalty," Bowens said after the hearing. James Bowens is leading a petition drive to put a measure on the state ballot to end the state's 158-year-old ban on capital punishment.

Associated PressCopyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recommended Investigations

Join the discussion