Frankenhauser Murder Trial Date Rescheduled

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The murder trial for Eric Frankenhauser, accused of killing his girlfriend execution-style in Fayetteville last August, has been rescheduled to begin in the fall, court officials said.

Frankenhauser is charged with Class Y capital murder punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole, officials said.

His trial was set to begin July 16 in Washington County Circuit Court but has been reset for Sept. 16 before Judge William Storey, officials said, adding that the trial date was rescheduled after defense lawyers requested it.

Frankenhauser was sent to the Arkansas State Hospital on March 4 for a mental evaluation to determine if he is fit to stand trial. Mental evaluations are mandatory in capital murder cases, according to court documents.

On Aug. 22, 2012, Frankenhauser, shackled and wearing orange-and-white striped detainee garb, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment at the Washington County Detention Center before Magistrate Judge Ray Reynolds.

Not guilty pleas are common at arraignments to allow the case to proceed in the legal system. (In the photograph accompanying this story, Frankenhauser is seen at his arraignment last year in the detention center.)

Frankenhauser was arrested in Franklin County, Ohio, in August in connection with the shooting death of 39-year-old Jessica Stewart of Fayetteville.

He was seen walking down a road 12 miles west of Columbus when he was stopped by deputies and arrested without incident, said Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor.

Stewart was found shot in the head execution-style in front of 2228 W. Wedington Drive on Aug. 5, police said. She died the next day at Washington Regional Medical Center.

Neighbors said Frankenhauser was Stewart’s boyfriend.