Man ruled competent for Grovetown murder trial

One of five Augusta men  charged in a 2008 home invasion and murder in Grovetown was deemed competent today to stand trial by a Columbia County jury .
Garland Ray Pittman, 16, is one of five men charged in the September 2008 fatal shooting of Rickey Gibson, 33, and assault of his girlfriend and infant son.
David Brunk, Pittman's defense attorney, has filed an intent to seek the insanity defense, which required a mental evaluation to determine his competency to stand trial. A state psychologist assigned to complete the evaluation. She said at an October hearing that she attempted three times, but was unable to complete the evaluation because Pittman was either uncooperative or unable to complete a thorough interview.
She refused to provide a determination.
A civil jury was assembled to hear the case and determined Pittman is competent to stand trial. Competency means that Pittman is able to understand the nature and object of the court proceedings, his own situation as it relates to the proceedings and is able to assist his attorney in his defense.
"This is whether or not Garland Pittman understands what he is here for," Assistant District Attorney Dana Wolk said of the hearing.
Based on testimony from psychologists, counselors and teachers, the jury quickly decided Pittman was competent.
A trial date has not yet been set.
In October, a jury found Antwon Booker, 21, guilty of burglary, armed robbery, two counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping, two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of a firearm by a First Offender probationer. The jury acquitted Booker of malice murder and did not reach a verdict on the felony murder charge. Because the jury did not agree on a verdict on the felony murder charge, Booker can be re-tried on that charge.
KarmbOctavious Young, 20, was convicted of the charges in August; and Martin Napoleon Holmes, 19, and Willie Bernard Butler, 20, were convicted in October.
The five men are accused of killing Gibson in his home. Police say the man broke into the home Gibson shared with his girlfriend and infant son, held the family at gunpoint, ut a gun in the baby's mouth, threatened them and shot at her before fatally shooting Gibson.

Reach Valerie Rowell at (706) 868-1222, ext. 110 or
valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.

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