SALT LAKE CITY — A man charged with strangling his former girlfriend, stuffing her body into a storage bin and toting it across state lines was deemed competent to stand trial Friday.
Michael Doyel, 50, had a review hearing on the status of his mental health in 3rd District Court Friday. It was determined that he is now sufficiently competent to proceed toward trial and a scheduling conference has been set for Aug. 22, according to court records.
Doyel has been charged in two separate cases with murder and kidnapping, both first-degree felonies, along with obstruction of justice and theft, second-degree felonies.
Prosecutors say Doyel killed his former girlfriend, Deborah Jones, and took Patricia Murray, a handicapped woman, with him on a cross-country journey without the consent of her guardian in 2008.
Less than a year after the alleged crimes occurred, Doyel was found incompetent. But in recent court hearings it was reported that he was making "reasonable progress toward restoration," court records state.
The man is being housed at the Utah State Hospital.
Doyel and Murray were found at a motel near Branson, Mo., on April 21, 2008. Jones' body, bound at the hands and feet with bungee cords, was found in the plastic container in her car.
He was charged in May of 2008 and deemed incompetent in January of 2009. Beyond the charges in the state court system, Doyel was charged in federal court with kidnapping for allegedly transporting Jones' body to Missouri.