DETROIT (WWJ) – A Wayne County judge has ruled that a Highland Park man accused in the starvation death of his nephew is mentally competent to stand trial. But the defendant, Randy Gardner, is asking for an independent psychiatric exam.
The 32-year-old man and his 30-year-old wife, Matilda, are charged with murdering and torturing four-year old Robert Byrd, who was in their care.
Police said Byrd had been physically abused and burned, and had bedsores, bruises and cuts from a razor blade. His body was found on Mother’s Day in a home police said had no beds, just blankets and a few pieces of furniture.
Upon arriving at the hospital, Byrd was 3’1” and weighed only 24 pounds.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has said it’s been very difficult taking in the facts of this case, which she described at “severe child abuse.”
Another pre-trial conference is set for November 11. The trial is scheduled to begin November 29.
The couple faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted.