FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A Fort Smith man who faces a capital murder charge in the death of his former father-in-law has yet to face jury.
Michael Underwood, has had several continuances due in part to a brain injury, which one doctor said may be exaggerated.
The case was postponed once again Friday (Jan. 13). He was scheduled for a hearing to determine whether he is fit to fit trial.
Underwood's attorneys, Ron Fields and Rex W. Chronister, filed a motion to postpone a hearing to April 2017.
Prosecuting Attorney Dan Shue said during November 2016, he couldn't comment on the case, but said if Underwood is found fit to stand trial, the case could face a jury 30-60 days after that fitness hearing.
“There's not been any closure for us,” said Angela Day, Underwood ex-wife.
Day had been divorced from Underwood for 14 months, which is when she said her life changed forever. Police said in June 2013, her former husband shot and killed her father at a home on South 70th Street in Fort Smith.
He then shot himself in the head twice, according to documents.
“Every three to six months, there's a new continuance,” Day added.
Years later, his trial has yet to start, which has made the Day family uneasy. Underwood is being treated at the Spiro nursing home after the Sebastian County Jail couldn't meet his health needs, records state.
“There's no ankle monitoring bracelet, so we're not aware of what his condition is exactly," Day said. "We've been told different things, but who's to say he can't show up here anytime. To me, there's absolutely no reason why he shouldn't be behind bars."
Day explained she’s afraid for her life. She said she doesn’t believe her ex-husband planned to kill her father that night. Instead, she believes the bullets were intended for her, because she said Underwood stalked her after the divorce.
“My dad had actually called me that evening after I had left the house,” Day said. “I guess right before it happened, and told me, "He's come by and he's asked where you were. I told him you left with a friend.""
Court-ordered medical evaluations have found Underwood is not competent to stand trial because of the traumatic brain injury, which was the result of him shooting himself.
“If you know you're going to go to prison for killing somebody, how hard are you going to work to regain your memory in a situation like that?” Day asked.
Day added, "Hopefully these doctors will get together and their findings will be that is the case," she said. "We'll go to trial and get it taken care of."