Execution-Style Murder Suspect Declared Fit For Trial

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

State doctors have declared a Fayetteville man accused of gunning down his girlfriend execution-style last year as mentally fit to stand trial, as the suspect’s attorney claims he was not read his Miranda Rights during his arrest.

Eric Frankenhauser was declared by Arkansas State Hospital staff in April of being mentally fit to stand trial and understanding the charges against him. The documents showing the mental evaluation’s results were recently unsealed by the Washington County Circuit Court.

A mental evaluation showed “Frankenhauser did not manifest any substantially-impairing symptoms of a mental disease or mental defect,” the evaluation states. The document states, however, that Frankenhauser may be exhibiting signs of major depressive disorder and borderline personality disorder.

In a motion filed last week in Washington County Circuit Court, Frankenhauser’s public defender claims the capital murder suspect was unlawfully detained by Ohio authorities while on the run from Fayetteville police. Because of the “illegal arrest” and the detectives’ alleged neglect to read Frankenhauser his Miranda Rights while he was being detained, any information gathered by police during subsequent interrogations should not be admissible in court, Pat Aydelott’s motion states.

Judge William Storey, who presides over the case, has not yet made a ruling on the motion, according to court records.

Frankenhauser’s trial is scheduled for Jan. 27. He has a hearing set for Tuesday in Circuit Court.

Frankenhauser is charged with Class Y capital murder punishable by the death penalty or life in prison without parole, officials said. He remains in the Washington County Detention Center awaiting his hearings and trial.

His trial was delayed in September for the second time. His trial was initially set to begin July 16 in Washington County Circuit Court, before being reset for Sept. 16, 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 2012 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, 2012, police said. She died the next day at Washington Regional Medical Center.

Neighbors said Frankenhauser was Stewart’s boyfriend.