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Update: Tennessee teen charged with killing high school principal ruled competent

October 4th, 2012 4:56 am by Associated Press

Update: Tennessee teen charged with killing high school principal ruled competent

Eduardo Marmolejo.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — A 17-year-old boy charged with fatally stabbing his high school principal is competent to stand trial, his lawyer said Thursday.

Leslie Ballin said a doctor informed him that there were no issues of competency or sanity in a mental evaluation of his client, Eduardo Marmolejo.

Marmolejo has pleaded not guilty to adult first-degree murder charges in the stabbing of Suzette York in August 2011. York, 49, was Marmolejo's principal at Memphis Junior Academy, a private school affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

York's body was found in a pool of blood in a classroom on the third day of school. An autopsy showed she had cuts to her head and neck.

A hearing scheduled for Thursday was reset to Oct. 30. No trial date has been set.

The lawyer previously had expressed serious doubts that Marmolejo could understand his situation and the legal process. Ballin said he will meet with his client and his family to discuss the finding.

"It means now that we don't have proof to substantiate a mental defense," Ballin told The Associated Press.

Marmolejo, who was 16 at the time of the killing, was arrested at the east Memphis school. A juvenile judge determined that the teen should be tried as an adult, and he was indicted in February 2012.

Homicide detectives testified at a Sept. 7, 2011, juvenile court hearing that the teen confessed to stabbing York after planning the killing for months. Police said Marmolejo studied close-contact battle tactics in preparation.

York was stabbed multiple times at different angles, an autopsy showed. Her jugular vein and spinal cord were cut and she suffered a fractured skull.


Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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