ROSWELL Ga. -- The man accused of killing two teenagers behind a Roswell grocery store is competent to stand trial, a judge ruled.
Jeffery Hazelwood is facing numerous charges, including felony murder, in the shooting deaths of Carter Davis and Natalie Henderson. The two 17-year-olds were found shot to death behind a Publix on Woodstock Road on August 1, 2016.
In a 15-page ruling, Fulton County Judge Shawn LaGrua concurred with doctors' testimony that Hazelwood understands the charges against him, comprehends his own position in the proceedings and can assist in his own defense.
At a court hearing two weeks ago, Christian Hildreth, a forensic director for Central State Hospital, testified that Hazelwood had shown progress since arriving at the hospital for treatment back in February.
When Hazelwood arrived at the hospital, he was "was unable to complete sentences. He was unable to have a discussion with me and with other practitioners other than recording hearing voices," Hildreth testified. But since switching to a new medication, Hazelwood was able to have conversations and understand the charges he faced, according to Hildreth.
Psychiatrist Dr. Selig Cynman said Hazelwood suffers from five mental illnesses that resulted in hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and anxiety.
The psychologists recommended that Hazelwood remain on his current medications to treat those illness, and said he would likely need assistance should the case go to a lengthy jury trial.
Hildreth's said that it was professional opinion that Hazelwood is competent enough to proceed with the case, despite his mental illnesses. The judge's ruling agreed.
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In the court hearing, Hazelwood sported a closely-cropped haircut -- a sharp contrast to long, unruly hair seen in previous court appearances. Hazelwood was seen rocking back and forth and shaking his leg from time to time. Hildreth said these are a few outward manifestations of his anxiety.
Authorities allege that Hazelwood saw Davis and Henderson drive behind the grocery store. He's accused of watching the teens, who were in the backseat of the vehicle, before confronting them.
Hazelwood made his way down to the SUV, opened the backseat passenger door and ordered the two to exit the vehicle, authorities allege. At this time, Hazelwood told the detective he felt threatened by Davis, pistol-whipped him and shot him in the head. He then allegedly sexually assaulted and shot Henderson before fleeing.
Detectives previously testified that Hazelwood then took Henderson's debit card from her wallet as well as jumper cables from Davis' vehicle. He was arrested a few days later.
A trial date has not been set.
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