Charles Ray Owens Jr., 37, was found guilty of murder in March 2013 and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
The new trial comes after an appeal filed with the Sixth Appellate District Court. The expert witness, Dr. Thomas Allen, who was appointed by the trial court to examine Owens, testified Owens was competent to stand trial. Now, the appellate court has found that Dr. Allen does not meet "expert" qualifications. Allen's testimony was the only evidence that contradicted Owens' claim of incompetence to stand trial. The jury rejected Owens' claim during the original trial.
Owens' claimed he was incompetent because he was suffered amnesia beginning a few days before the fatal collision. He said the amnesia contined for a few days after the collision, too.
According to court documents, a trooper stopped Owens' truck for speeding. During the stop, the trooper discovered that Owens had an outstanding arrest warrant from Michigan. Owens had a child passenger with him, so the trooper agreed to allow Owens to drive home to drop off the passenger before submitting to arrest. The trooper followed Owens home, but as soon as the child got out of the truck, Owens sped off with the trooper in pursuit.
The high-speed chase ended when Owens' truck entered the intersection of East Loop 281 and Page Road and T-boned a burgundy Honda Accord, killing the driver, 62-year-old Robert E. Smith of Longview.