Murder case awaits competency exam

Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — A competency examination was ordered for a 43-year-old man accused of murdering his sister to determine his ability to stand trial. A preliminary examination of the evidence was postponed Tuesday by 25th District Court Judge David Bajorek.

Gerald Eugene Dennis Jr. was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder for the Feb. 28 homicide of Deborah Seifert, 53, with whom Dennis lived in the 1500 block of College Avenue. Police and prosecutors said that Dennis beat his sister to death using an automobile jack handle.

A defense motion requested the psychiatric examination after receiving information including Dennis’ medical history. Dennis reportedly suffered a history of mental illness and drug abuse.

Police responded to an early morning call from a woman who found Seifert, “unresponsive and bleeding about the face.” Seifert was transported to Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center and pronounced dead shortly after 7 a.m. Investigators said the death was caused by blunt force trauma.

Dennis was asleep in the living room when investigators arrived. His hands, face and clothes were “covered in what appeared to be blood,” according to police reports.

Investigators said that Dennis showed police the backyard location of the jack handle he used, and confessed to the murder. Dennis told police he’d been abused by his sister, which family members reportedly confirmed.

Dennis remains in custody without bond, and faces up to life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. A preliminary examination of the evidence and further court dates await the results of the psychiatric exam.

(James Mitchell can be reached at