Man charged in shooting his father-in-law at church is competent to stand trial, judge rules

Published: Monday, Sept. 9 2013 3:05 p.m. MDT

Law enforcement officials transfer Charles Richard Jennings Jr. from an ambulance to a waiting police vehicle Sunday, June 16, 2013 at a freeway exit off of I-84 near Tremonton. Jennings, 35, was declared competent to stand trial on Monday.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

OGDEN — A man charged with shooting his father-in-law in the head during a church service was deemed competent Monday to stand trial.

Two evaluations determined that Charles "Ricky" Jennings, 35, is competent to stand trial for attempted murder. But defense attorney Mike Bouwhuis argued that his client's mental capacity at the time of the shooting may have been impaired.

On Monday, Bouwhuis asked 2nd District Judge Michael D. Lyon for a stipulation on the findings. He wants to look into Jennings' mental capacity on June 16.

"There appears to be some level of diminished capacity at the time of the alleged offense," Bouwhuis said, adding that Jennings "was operating under some sort of psychotic episode" when he allegedly shot his father-in-law.

"There's a question about whether you can separate that out from the drug abuse," Bouwhuis said.

In June, Jennings told police he shot his father in-law because "he felt disrespected," prosecutors said.

Jennings entered the St. James the Just Catholic Church, 495 N. Harrison Blvd., during Mass on June 16. He then walked over to the back pew where Jim Evans, his father-in-law, was seated and shot him in the head without saying anything, according to police.

Jennings was arrested about 3 ½ hours after Evans was shot. According to witnesses, he ran to a nearby neighborhood, came into a woman's home and asked for her car. He then went to another home and allegedly carjacked a pickup truck at gunpoint.

Lyon gave Bouwhuis three weeks to look into Jennings' mental state at the time of the shooting. Lyon asked that Jennings be evaluated for "antipsychotic medication" as well. His next hearing is set for Oct. 3.

Jennings is charged with attempted murder, aggravated robbery and two counts of aggravated burglary, first-degree felonies; and a second-degree felony charge of possession of a firearm by restricted person.

"He does feel some remorse for what happened," Bouwhuis said Monday.

Doctors say Evans will need to undergo several more procedures and reconstruction surgeries, but he is expected to make a full recovery.

Contributing: Haley Smith

Email: wevans@deseretnews.com

Twitter: whitevs7

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