Competency hearing set for man accused of killing daughter
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans man accused of killing his 18-month-old daughter last year finally has a legal team to represent him and now the case is going to a mental competency hearing.
The New Orleans Advocate reports that two attorneys from the Capital Defense Project of Southeast Louisiana enrolled to represent Mark Hambrick on Monday.
He had been on the state Public Defender Board’s waiting list for representation in capital cases.
His lawyers did not enter a plea in the case Monday but instead asked the judge to set a Sept. 7 hearing on his mental competency.
Hambrick is accused of killing his young daughter in his home last October. Authorities say he confessed and told them he was ordered by God to do it.
Criminal District Court Judge Robin Pittman made her irritation at the case’s slow progress clear.
“He has been reset and reset and reset. So I’m thankful that this day has finally come,” she said.
Hambrick’s case was originally handled by the Orleans Public Defenders office but in January the district attorney’s office charged him with first-degree murder. The case qualified for the death penalty so the Orleans Public Defenders office could no longer defend him. He’s been waiting since February for someone to represent him.
Two forensic psychiatrists have already interviewed Hambrick, and they will speak at the hearing next week. Defense attorneys are also expected to enter a plea on his behalf.