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Badge and Bar: July arraignment set for man accused of killing his grandmother
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A July arraignment date been set for a man accused in the May death of his grandmother.

Ronnie Quqomeki Rucker, 32, is set to enter a plea July 8 in Hall County Superior Court before Judge Bonnie Oliver.

He was indicted on charges of murder in the May 2 stabbing of Lula Bell Howard, 70, at her New Holland area home. She died the same day at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

Deputies responded around 2:30 p.m. at Liberty Street after receiving reports of an assault, and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office reported Rucker made the call to dispatch. He was arrested on scene by deputies.

According to court records, Howard was stabbed “on and about the back and front of her torso.”

Rucker faces six counts: malice murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

Records indicated Rucker had been on probation since December. According to the Georgia Department of Corrections, he served time in prison on an aggravated battery conviction.

He was initially held in the Hall County Jail. He later was relinquished back into Department of Corrections custody, according to court records.

An attorney with the county public defender’s office has been appointed to represent Rucker.

Murder defendant ruled competent to stand trial

A Gainesville man accused of murder in a shooting at Tadmore Park in Hall County was ruled mentally fit to stand trial.

The order came June 17, 2013, one year and one day after the June 16, 2013, incident where Saul Merdez Castillo, 42, is accused of shooting and killing 46-year-old Silverio Acosta at a soccer game.

Castillo was indicted in July by a Hall County grand jury on charges of aggravated assault, malice murder, felony murder and possession of a firearm in the commission of a crime.

The two men had a problem that went back to their native country of El Salvador, authorities said. Castillo tried to leave the area after pulling the trigger but was stopped by two Hall County marshals who were working security, according to the sheriff’s office.

Castillo was placed on an immigration hold upon his arrest.

District Attorney Lee Darragh said serious felonies are typically prosecuted and sentences carried out before deportation.

Castillo’s attorney wrote in the request for a mental evaluation that he had previously been treated with medication for psychological problems.

He is being held at the Hall County Jail.

Emma Witman covers public safety issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with her: