Mental-health trial resumes in Oklahoma killings

EL RENO — Testimony has resumed in a non-jury trial to determine if a man charged in the 2009 killings of his girlfriend and her four young children can face the death penalty.
BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: June 25, 2012
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EL RENO — Testimony has resumed in a non-jury trial to determine if a man charged in the 2009 killings of his girlfriend and her four young children can face the death penalty.

Monday's proceedings against Joshua Durcho are focusing on his mental capacity — not the slayings of Summer Rust, her three daughters and one son. The outcome of the pre-trial proceeding will determine whether prosecutors can seek the death penalty against him.

Oklahoma law bars death sentences if a defendant meets the state definition of mental retardation, which includes an IQ of 70 or below and "significant limitations in adaptive functioning."

An autopsy revealed that Rust and her children died of asphyxiation, suffocation and strangulation.

Jury selection for Durcho's first-degree murder trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 17.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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