Jury to decide DeKalb Co. murder suspect's competence - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Jury to decide DeKalb Co. murder suspect's competence

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If Westbrook is declared competent, it is expected a trial date will be set. If Westbrook is declared competent, it is expected a trial date will be set.
DEKALB COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

A competency trial is underway for a DeKalb County woman facing a capital murder charge in the death of an elderly man.

Usually a judge makes the decision in a competency trial, but a jury will be handed this case. The state's expert said the woman is competent; the defense expert said she is not.

Jury selection began Monday morning in the case of 39-year-old Patty Westbrook. The jury was seated by noon. The only issue they will be asked to decide is whether or not Westbrook is competent to stand trial.

Westbrook is charged with shooting 70-year-old Pete Batey to death with his own gun while giving her a ride. Investigators believe Westbrook stole money from Batey's wallet before fleeing the scene in Batey's truck near Geraldine in March 2011.

The trial is similar to a standard trial in that there are opening statements, evidence presentation, followed by closing arguments before the jury begins deliberation.

If Westbrook is declared competent, it is expected a trial date will be set. If not, prosecutors believe she will be committed to a state institution until she is deemed competent.

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