now declared competent to stand trial for alleged shooting
a surprising turn of events, a Ripley County man has been declared
competent in less than five months from the initial findings that
he was not competent to stand trial for allegedly shooting two
people in Batesville.
James L. Fernbach Jr., 32, of Batesville, was charged with Attempted
Murder after he allegedly shot Phillip Cruiser, 56, of Westport
and Benjamin Dick, 26, of Batesville, outside a Batesville convenience
store on April 4, 2009, with no motive given.
Bail was set for Fernbach at $2 million dollars in Ripley County
Circuit Court after Judge Carl Taul heard from both sides about
the situation that left two men with gunshot wounds, one critical.
At the time, Prosecutor Ric Hertel told The Versailles Republican
it was one of the highest bails he had seen set.
Then in October of 2009 a competency hearing was held with testimony
from doctors that saw another twist to the case. Fernbach was
declared not competent to stand trial and sent to the Logansport
Now, just a few months after that hearing, the defendant has been
declared competent and will again be held at the Ripley County
Jail until his trial date, which has been set for April 19.
Given the fact that the court found the defendant incompetent
to stand trial based on written reports and testimony from two
doctors less than four months ago, I am surprised that the Logansport
State Hospital has now determined that Fernbach is competent to
stand trial, noted Prosecutor Ric Hertel. He told the Osgood
Journal, I am interested in reviewing their findings
and hope to gain an understanding about what has transpired in
the last few months.
The prosecutor said his office has contacted the victims in this
case and will proceed with preparation for trial.
According to Ripley Publishing Co. files, Fernbach noted in court
that he didnt plan the shootings. He was taken into custody
initially without incident.