SAN ANGELO, TX -- A San Angelo man accused of beating another man to death in 2016 has been found competent to stand trial after spending a year in a state mental treatment facility.
31-year-old Thomas Gene Riddle was found competent by a psychiatrist and district judge Jay Weatherby signed an order declaring him competent Friday morning. Riddle is accused of bludgeoning his mother’s 58-year-old boyfriend to death. Police identified the deceased as Jerry Don Barr.
Police were dispatched to the Rock Brook Apartments, 3326 Rock Brook Dr., in Southland in March of 2016 concerning an assault. Upon arrival, police found Barr dead with injuries consistent with blunt force trauma. An autopsy was ordered.
Riddle was picked up a while later walking near the Olive Garden Restaurant on the Houston Harte Expressway. Court documents say Riddle had blood on his clothing and his face.
Police said that Barr’s girlfriend made the 9-1-1 call after arriving at the apartment to find Barr beaten. Police said she told police she saw Riddle walking in the vicinity.
Riddle was declared incompetent to stand trial on Nov. 30. 2016. He remained in the Tom Green County Jail until July of 2017 when he was transferred to the Vernon State Hospital campus in Kerrville. He was returned to the Tom Green County Jail on July 20.
Judge Weatherby put Riddle’s case back on the docket for a September 17 jury trial. Riddle’s attorney Brandon Hudson told the court he intended to use the insanity defense. Weatherby and the attorneys acknowledged that the September jury trial date was not likely to happen because of the required pretrial hearings and a mandatory two week period between the final pretrial hearing and the jury trial.