The 221st District Court has scheduled a contested competency hearing for Edward Blackwell, currently charged with three cases of Intoxication Manslaughter.
During the hearing, a jury will hear from State and Defense experts on Blackwell’s competency and decide whether or not he is to be committed to a mental health facility or tried on the original charges. Defense lawyer, Tay Bond, received court funds to hire a state mental health specialist to examine Blackwell’s ability to stand trial.
While intoxicated, Blackwell allegedly drove against traffic on Interstate 45 near The Woodlands in a July 1, 2012, killing three in a head-on collision. Blackwell himself suffered severe injuries in the crash and has been in treatment ever since.
On account of his impairing head injuries, the District Attorney’s Office has since hired Dr. M. Arambula to determine Blackwell’s competence. Competency rules require that an accused defendant know the nature of the charges and is able to understand how the legal system works. DWI type offenses have no mental state requirement, and so insanity is not a valid defense.
Prosecutor Warren Diepraam says that although Blackwell suffered severe head injuries in the crash, he remains competent to stand trial. Mr. Blackwell, according to Diepraam, has been treated by multiple neuro-restorative facilities around the state which have taught him how to function and understand his environment. Diepraam further states that although he is severely injured, this should not excuse him from killing three innocent victims.