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New competency bench trial set for two weeks in 2017 North Hall murder
Talon Roame Lowery
Talon Roame Lowery

The morning a Sautee man’s murder trial was set to begin, a psychiatrist opined that the man was still delusional and not competent for trial, according to court records.

Talon Lowery, 24, stands accused of fatally shooting Bryan Ramirez, 18, on Nov. 2, 2017, outside of the Cleveland Highway Texaco in North Hall.

Lowery was identified as the suspect after law enforcement learned of a Snapchat video of the shooting.

After years of court hearings, Lowery was expected to have his trial begin Dec. 7 with jury selection.

But Lowery’s defense renewed its concern about Lowery’s competency to stand trial.

Competency concerns a person’s ability to understand the facets of a trial and assist in their own defense.

According to court filings by Lowery’s attorneys, Lowery has continued to suffer symptoms of schizophrenia since the court’s ruling that he was competent for trial in September.

“Mr. Lowery was evaluated by doctors employed by (the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities) and found to be competent to stand trial, but Mr. Lowery’s expert, Dr. Kelly Coffman, disagreed with the DBHDD doctors,” according to court filings.

Because of the doctor’s concerns, she met with Lowery in the holding cell on the morning of trial and felt the man was still delusional.

The trial was delayed to January, and defense attorneys Robert Rubin and Jeffrey Brickman filed a special plea of mental incompetency to stand trial.

“All the experts who have treated or evaluated Mr. Lowery agree that he’s schizophrenic, and they all agree that he’s still delusional,” Rubin said. “The question arose of whether those delusions are interfering with his competency.”

The competency bench trial has been set for Jan. 18-20. If Lowery is deemed competent, the criminal jury trial will start Jan. 23.