The trial of a 26-year-old man charged in the brutal slaying of a Chattanooga clergyman will begin on Nov. 13, a criminal court judge ruled Monday.
That decision came after a mental evaluation performed by Moccasin Bend Psychiatric Hospital found that Antonio Xavier Henry is competent to assist his attorney, Dan Ripper, with his legal defense.
Attorney Ripper, questioning the correctness of Moccasin Bend’s ruling, said he will have a second mental evaluation of Henry done before Henry’s trial date. His client has a history of mental problems and is heavily medicated, he noted.
“You can just look at him and tell something’s wrong,” he said.
No trial date was set for Henry’s cousin and co-defendant, Brendan Barnes.
The two will be tried separately, Criminal Court Judge Don Poole said, since they are expected to blame each other for the murder of the Rev. David Strong, who died in early October 2010 after he was savagely beaten and stabbed 29 times.
Both Henry and Barnes admit that they beat the pastor, but both insist the other is responsible for the stab wounds.