Trial delayed for man accused of killing sister

By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers

LINCOLN PARK — More than a year after Deborah Seifert’s murder, a new, independent competency examination has been scheduled to determine if her brother will face charges of first-degree murder.

Gerald Eugene Dennis, 45, had previously declared competent in October 2012 to stand trial for the February murder of Seifert, with whom he lived.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said Dennis’s attorney advised Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Edward Ewell prior to the scheduled trial that another examination might be in order.

“His mental state changed,” Miller said. “It is incumbent upon the court to make sure he is competent to participate in his defense. The only way to do this is to have him re-evaluated by a psychiatrist.”

A hearing to review a competency examination is scheduled for May 1.

Investigators said that Dennis suffered a history of mental illness and drug abuse. Dennis was originally charged with beating his sister to death with a jack handle in the home they shared in the 1500 block of College Avenue. Dennis told investigators that his sister had been abusive to him, and had “had enough” according to police reports.

Dennis remained in custody without bond pending the outcome of a competency evaluation and possible trial. He faces up to life in prison if convicted of homicide.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)