FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Police say it’s a case of an intoxicated driver crashing into a vehicle, killing an occupant inside, and then fatally shooting a second person about a quarter mile from the initial wreck. It all happened one afternoon last December, in Arlington.
Tuesday the attorney representing Thomas Harper asked for a competency evaluation, to determine if his client is able to understand the legal case before him.
Tarrant County Criminal District Court 2, Judge Wayne Salvant granted the competency hearing.
Harper’s mental state on the day of the wreck will not be considered, but the man’s father told officials with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Department that his son had mental problems.
“I’m not familiar with his past, as far as his family background or anything like that,” said Harper’s defense attorney, Ezekiel Tyson. “But I could see that [Harper’s competency] being possible and that’s why it’s crucial we have this evaluation take place before we move forward.”
Tyson also said there are “glaring discrepancies” that are upsetting to his client, but would not elaborate on what they were.
On December 14 police believe Harper was driving a dark blue Chevy Tahoe north on Collins Street, with his two children in the backseat when he hit a pair of cars at Washington Ave. They say he fled the wreck at a high rate of speed and eventually barreled into a grey pickup at the intersection of Collins St. and Brown Blvd. The police account states that when 18-year-old Clarance Robinson approached Harper’s wrecked vehicle, to help his children, the suspect pulled a handgun and opened fire, striking and killing the Good Samaritan.
Toxicology tests later revealed Harper was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash.
Harper is charged with Murder, Manslaughter and two counts of Child Endangerment.
Harper remained in jail Tuesday and was not in the courtroom for the brief hearing.
The next hearing in the case has not been scheduled and no trial date has been set.
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