A Lehi man charged with murder in the drug-related death of his wife was found competent Wednesday to face the charges against him.
Edward R. Arnold, 46, has been in the Utah County Jail since August. However, a preliminary hearing has been delayed twice, and it appears the hearing won't take place for at least several more weeks.One of the reasons for the delay was a competency evaluation re
quested by defense attorneys because Arnold reportedly had failed to assist in preparing a defense. In court Tuesday, 4th District Judge Anthony W. Schofield found that Arnold was competent to proceed, based on information contained in two doctors' reports.
Now, prosecutors may attempt to have defense attorney Dean Zabriskie removed from the case because of a potential conflict of interest. Zabriskie represented Arnold's wife, Gaylene Arnold, before she died of a heroin overdose. Schofield set a Feb. 25 hearing to determine if Zabriskie should be removed.
A new preliminary hearing date has not been scheduled. Arnold told Schofield that even though he has been in jail for more than six months, he doesn't mind the preliminary hearing being further delayed.
Arnold is charged with murder and aggravated arson, first-degree felonies; evidence tampering, a second-degree felony; and misuse of a dead body, a third-degree felony.
Gaylene Arnold died after the Arnolds used heroin at their Lehi home Aug. 2, police said. Edward Arnold allegedly stayed with the body for three days before igniting the home on fire and leaving.