Murder defendant now described as competent to stand trial

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A man police say killed a man who was coming to the rescue of a woman being assaulted is now reported to be competent to stand trial for murder.

William Starnes was charged in 2018 but was found mentally incompetent to stand trial, and committed twice to the state hospital for treatment.

On Thursday, he was in 89th District Court for a status report and his attorney, Marty Cannedy, reported his client is now competent for trial.

This hearing was scheduled on the docket three weeks ago, but prosecutors say Starnes had then refused to come out of his jail cell. Cannedy said that was the result of a misunderstanding.

Starnes is held awaiting trial on a $500,000 bond for murder, plus about $200,000 bonds on other charges including two for assault.

On April 23, 2018, police say Starnes killed 64-year-old William Stephens when Stephens came to the rescue of Sarnes’ wife in the 500 block of Burkburnett Road.

Witnesses reported Starnes was assaulting his wife and police say she told them he also tried to run her down with his truck.

They say when Stephens came to the woman’s aid, Starnes struck him on the head with a board. Police say they found a board in Starnes’ truck that matched the description given by witnesses.

Starnes has a lengthy record including assaults of family members and assault of an officer.

Stephens, known as “Wild Bill” to his family and friends, died in the hospital three days after the injury from severe brain trauma.

Family members said he was from Wisconsin, and came to Wichita Falls while he was in the Air Force and enjoyed the warm weather so much he decided to make it his home for 45 years.

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