Prosecutor Condemns Defense Team’s Request To Postpone Hearing For Homicide Suspect

FORT SMITH (KFSM) — Numerous continuances have postponed the capital murder trial of a Fort Smith man accused of killing his former father-in-law in 2013.

After reportedly shooting Michael Shook to death, Michael Underwood turned the gun on himself and shot himself twice in the head. He survived the self-inflicted shootings.

Underwood has had several continuances and has yet to face jurors. Continuances have been filed in part because of a supposed brain injury as a result of shooting himself, but an independent doctor said those claims may be exaggerated so that Underwood avoids prosecution. At the end of January of this year, a psychologist determined Underwood fit to stand trial. He has been staying at a nursing home in Spiro receiving outpatient restoration treatment after the Sebastian County Jail couldn’t meet his health needs, records state.

On May 16, Underwood’s attorneys once again filed a motion for continuance in hopes to delay a hearing scheduled for May 31. Underwood has had mental evaluations since the homicide happened, and a hearing is set for 9 a.m. May 31, to discuss the said evaluations.

During March 2017, the defense requested additional records about Underwood’s mental state from Arkansas State Hospital. A psychiatrist who has been working the case previously requested a 120-day extension to reevaluate those records, according to court documents.

In response, the prosecuting attorney of the case said the defense has had seven weeks to review those documents and objects to the continuance.

As of Wednesday (May 24) the hearing remained set for May 31.