The murder trial for Eric Frankenhauser, accused of gunning down his girlfriend execution style in 2012, has been rescheduled to begin in Washington County Circuit Court on May 27, court officials said.
Circuit Judge William Storey reset the trial date, scheduled to start on Monday (Jan. 27), at the request of Frankenhauser’s attorney.
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.
Frankenhauser was arrested in Franklin County, Ohio, in August 2012 in connection with the shooting death of 39-year-old Jessica Stewart of Fayetteville. Neighbors said Frankenhauser was Stewart’s boyfriend.
Stewart was 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.
After fleeing, Frankenhauser was seen walking down a road 12 miles west of Columbus, Ohio, and stopped by deputies, who took him into custody without incident, officials said.
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 in the detention center.)
In April 2013, Frankenhauser was declared by Arkansas State Hospital staff of being mentally fit to stand trial and understanding the charges against him, records show.
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.
Mental evaluations are mandatory in capital murder cases, according to court documents.