Michigan Uber driver ruled competent to stand trial for shooting spree

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 22, 2016 11:53 AM

By Mark Wedel

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (Reuters) - A Michigan judge ruled on Friday that an Uber driver who was charged with killing six people in a shooting spree in Kalamazoo in February was competent to stand trial.

Jason Dalton, 45, is charged with shooting eight people, killing six of them, over a five-hour period on Feb. 20, in between driving customers for the Uber [UBER.UL] car service in Kalamazoo, Michigan, about 150 miles (240 km) west of Detroit.

He faces 16 charges, including six of murder that can bring life in prison. Dalton, wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and in shackles, was in court and did not speak.

The judge reached the decision based on a report by the Center for Forensic Psychiatry, which examined Dalton and said he understood the proceedings and the charges against him. It did not evaluate his state of mind of the time of the shootings.

Prosecutor Jeff Getting told reporters in court after the proceedings he was not surprised by the decision.

He said the two survivors were "doing remarkably well."

The court will hold a preliminary exam to establish probable cause on May 20, and interview six to eight witnesses from the night of the shooting.

Bail for Dalton has been denied after a court hearing in which a detective testified that Dalton had admitted to the shooting rampage.

A lawyer for Dalton's wife, Carole, said Jason Dalton had been depressed in the days before the shooting spree, but offered no further explanation. Dalton's family has previously said they were devastated by the news and saddened for the victims and their families.

Carole Dalton subsequently filed for divorce. The couple have been married since 1995 and have a 15-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter.

(Reporting by Mark Wedel; Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bernadette Baum)