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Last updated 7:42AM ET
March 1, 2021
Mental Health Hearing for Man Who Shot Officers
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - A judge will decide whether a man with a history of mental illness is competent to stand trial in the shooting deaths of two Athens police officers.

Limestone County Circuit Judge Bob Baker will determine the competency of 32-year-old Farron Barksdale during the hearing that starts Monday.

Barksdale is charged with capital murder. He could be sentenced to death or life without parole if convicted in the February 2004 slayings of Athens police officer Tony Mims and Sergeant Larry Russell.

Barksdale's attorneys have never denied that he killed the officers, but said he's a paranoid schizophrenic.

State doctors found him competent to stand trial, but his attorneys asked for a jury determination of his mental competency. Baker denied the request, saying the defense failed to file in time.

If Baker rules Barksdale is competent, he will then address other defense motions. The trial is expected to begin in early August.

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