By Mike Smith
DUNCAN — A judge on Thursday declared 16-year-old Michael Anthony Ray competent to stand trial for first-degree murder in the June stabbing death of 14-year-old Alyssa Wyles of Duncan.
Stevens County Special District Judge Jerry Herberger said a psychologist at the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita found Ray was able to understand the charges against him, help in his own defense and was not undergoing treatment for mental disorders.
The ruling means court proceeding resume and Herberger set a preliminary hearing for Oct. 7 to determine if Ray should be bound over for trial. He is charged as an adult and could be sentenced to life in prison without parole if convicted.
A U.S. Supreme Court ruling bars anyone under age 18 at the time a crime was committed from being sentenced to death for it.
Proceedings had been on hold since July 31 until Ray’s competency was determined. Although Herberger read “yes” or “no” answers from the evaluation report before ruling, the report will remain sealed.
Ray’s attorney, Jim Berry of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, asked that the report remain sealed and Stephens County District Attorney Jason Hicks did not object.
Ray is accused of killing Wiles at her home in Duncan on June 10.
A 14-year-old boy accused of being a lookout that day told police Ray went to Wiles’ house because he was upset she had broken up with him. Ray allegedly kicked in the back door and stabbed Wiles in her bedroom. She was found later that day by her father.
The 14-year-old boy is charged as a juvenile with accessory to murder.
Ray, dressed in orange jail garb and cuffed at the hands and ankles, was silent during the hearing.
Police say Ray confessed to the killing, but Berry said people should not read anything into that.
Mike Smith writes for the Duncan Banner