Judge Rules Murder Suspect Avondre Graham Will Face A Jury - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Judge Rules Murder Suspect Avondre Graham Will Face A Jury

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He's been in jail for just over a year charged in the May 2012 stabbing death of his neighbor, Sharlotte McGill, and now a judge has ruled Avondre Graham, 18, is competent to stand trial.

Judge Maryann Moreno made her ruling at the Spokane County Courthouse Tuesday, a day after two expert psychologists testified to Graham's "intellectual disabilities" during his competent hearing.

Both doctors agreed Graham has a low IQ and "mild mental retardation," but one found Graham competent to stand trial while the other did not.

In Washington the legal standard "competency to stand trial" is two-fold: the defendant is ruled competent if he or she understands the nature of the charges against him or her, and can aid in his or her own defense.

After reviewing psychological exams, tests, evaluations, the court file and prior case law, Judge Moreno ruled that Graham meets both of those criteria. She also cited several other Washington cases in which the defendant had an even lower IQ and was found competent.

Graham said nothing in court, but after he left the room his mother broke down in tears and hugged family members.

The judge's ruling is not what Graham's family had hoped for, but it is a huge victory for the family of Sharlotte McGill - especially her only daughter, Billie McKinney.

McKinney spoke to KHQ's Kelsey Watts, and gave this statement:

"I just want to see his day in court and see the system follow through. This case is very important and will show the community what will and won't be tolerated."

Graham's murder trial is scheduled to begin November 4th.

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