Mental Tests Ordered For Fort Smith Man In Alleged Murder-Suicide Attempt

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SEBASTIAN COUNTY (KFSM) – A Sebastian County judge ordered a mental evaluation earlier this week for the Fort Smith man accused of gunning down his father-in-law in a plot to kill his ex-wife.

Circuit Judge James Cox on Tuesday granted a motion by the prosecution to have Michael Ray Underwood undergo a mental evaluation before the case moves forward, according to a representative at Cox’s office. Mental evaluations are common in capital murder cases.

Underwood was released on $100,000 bond from the Sebastian County Detention Center in September 2013, three months after police said he shot and killed Michael Schook, 63. The suspect is set to undergo a mental evaluation at Arkansas State Hospital in Little Rock, after which the case will proceed if he is declared mentally fit, officials said.

Police said Underwood shot and killed his ex-wife’s father before turning the gun on himself in a murder-suicide attempt. Underwood survived the incident after being airlifted to a Little Rock hospital in critical condition.

The shooting occurred about 6 a.m. at 2000 S. 70th St., according to Fort Smith Police Capt. Jarrard Copeland.

Underwood suffered an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Copeland said.

Investigators said they believe Underwood’s ex-wife, Angela, was living with her father at the time of the shooting. Copeland said there had been an ongoing problem between the Shook’s daughter and Underwood. Earlier this month, Angela had submitted an online request for extra patrol at the home on 70th Street, authorities said.

On June 10, 2013, a protection order was issued and was to be served on Underwood, according to police.

A Fort Smith officer patrolling the area noticed Underwood’s vehicle at the house and stopped, officials said. There were no active warrants out for the man, but a Sebastian County deputy told the officer there was an outstanding order of protection against Underwood, Copeland said.

When authorities went into the home they found the Shook dead and Underwood wounded, according to Sgt. Daniel Grubbs, a representative for Fort Smith police.

Angela was not at the home at the time of the shooting, according to police.

Police reports show on June 6, 2013, Angela spoke with an officer in reference to continued harassment from Underwood. The responding officer took the initial report, listing potential charges of domestic assault and possession of a firearm. After that, she went to the Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office to seek a warrant and request an order of protection, police said.

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