Decision on competency of man accused of killing 4 in Butler Twp. weeks away after days of testimony

BUTLER TOWNSHIP — A Montgomery County judge has to decide whether a man accused of killing four people in Butler Township last year is competent to stand trial.

Three doctors testified over two days of hearings concerning Stephen Marlow’s competency.

Police and prosecutors say Marlow used illegally purchased weapons to kill 41-year-old Sarah Anderson and her 15-year-old daughter Kayla inside their garage and home on August 5, 2022.

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They say he then left that house and shot and killed 82-year-old Clyde Knox and his 78-year-old wife Eva.

Investigators had witnesses tell them they spotted Marlow leaving the area. He would not be tracked down for another 36 hours, finally arrested in Lawrence, Kansas.

Court documents indicate that police serving search warrants discovered a manifesto allegedly written by Marlow where he called his neighbors “a terrorist cell” engaged in mind control.

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Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck said two of the doctors said Marlow was incompetent to stand trial based on different reasons, and another said he is competent.

“He did endorse hearing voice,” Dr. Erin Nichting said on the stand Tuesday.

One noted there were no outbursts during a two-and-a-half-hour evaluation.

“Concerns would be raised if someone was laughing inappropriately, smiling inappropriately, looking off to the side,” the doctor said.

Prosecutors pointed out that Marlow acted normally in every evaluation. He answered questions about his actions, showed good memory, and above-average intellectual capabilities.

Heck appeared in court Tuesday and brought up that it has been over a year since the victims have been killed, and they deserve finality.

“They have a right to justice as well, certainly can not come soon enough for them, a trial, so they have their day in court too,” Heck said.

The prosecution and defense lawyers will have until October 10 to file written briefs. The judge will then take the testimony under consideration and issue a ruling.

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