OGDEN — A man accused of gunning down two women on a street here has been found mentally competent to face murder charges.

Jacob Daniel Ethridge, 31, appeared briefly here in 2nd District Court on Wednesday where a judge reviewed a pair of reports on his mental state.

"The court will make the finding that Mr. Ethridge is competent to proceed to trial," Judge Brent West said.

A one-day preliminary hearing, where a judge decides if there's enough evidence to make him stand trial on the charges, is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 24.

Ethridge is accused of killing Teresa Tingey, 43, and Rosanna Marie Cruz, 25, on July 13 along Adams Avenue. The women were prostitutes and police said Ethridge solicited them. After killing them, authorities said Ethridge walked into the Ogden Police Department and confessed to the slayings.

Investigators have told the Deseret News that Ethridge had been having "homicidal thoughts" for about a year before the killings. Defense attorneys asked for a mental evaluation during one of his first court appearances.

Ethridge was hurried in and out of court on Wednesday amid tight security. Members of his family crowded into the packed courtroom to see him in the middle of an overbooked courtroom calendar.

"They're having a hard time but they'll get through it," Ethridge's attorney, Roy Cole, said of the man's family. "They're tough people."

Ethridge is charged with two counts of first-degree felony murder. In interviews with the Deseret News, Cruz's family has urged Weber County prosecutors to amend the charges to seek the death penalty.

"He's concerned about his future," Cole said of his client. "As he should be."


E-MAIL: bwinslow@desnews.com