Capital Murder Hearing Rescheduled For Next Month


By Catalina Trivino

Shawn McClain is charged with murdering his neighbor, Dorothy Leatherwood. He was scheduled for a hearing to determine whether he was mentally competent to stand trial and be eligible for the death penalty if he's found guilty. But now, that hearing has been post-poned for next month.

An empty courthouse, an empty witness stand and a longer wait to find out if Shawn McClain is death penalty qualified if he's convicted.

District Attorney, Charlotte Tesmer, tells us a primary witness, a doctor involved with McClain's mental evaluation, was unable to attend the hearing. She says McClain's attorneys say he was mentally ill the night Leatherwood was killed.

Butler County deputies and Georgiana Police found her body inside her Georgiana home last November. Tesmer says she's been interviewing those who knew McClain.

"We've gone over his school records... he grew up in Georgiana, so it was relatively easy to look at. We've reviewed the doctors report and we've interviewed people in the community just to see and get a feel for how he was operating within the community just to see how he took care of himself, things of that nature," Said Tesmer.

Some of the things the judge will be looking for as far as measuring McClain's competency, is his IQ, interpersonal and academic skills, as well as his homelife.

The hearing has been post-poned to September 5. The D.A.'s office also tells Alabama News Network if the judge does not find McClain competent enough to stand trial, they will still be able to seek a sentence of life without parole if he's convicted.