State hospital clears Bennett for trial on attempted murder charges

ST. GEORGE — After being classified as incompetent to proceed to trial in his attempted murder case, a psychologist from the Utah State Hospital has reclassified Craig Manwill Bennett as competent and a hearing has been set for his case to proceed in mid-August.

Bennett, 32, of Hurricane was charged with attempted murder in November 2012 after allegedly shooting another man several times with a shotgun in the Harrisburg community of Hurricane.

After being booked into jail, Bennett’s case proceeded and eventually a motion was brought by Bennett’s attorneys to have his mental competency evaluated. This motion was granted by the Fifth District Court on Jan. 9, 2013, and his case was stayed (paused) while he went through a mental evaluation at the State Hospital.

Today, Bennett appeared in front of Judge Eric Ludlow at the Fifth District Court. His attorney, Aric Cramer, said that the state hospital reported that Bennett was OK. His case will move forward and his next hearing is now set for mid-August.

Attempted murder and aftermath

On November 27, 2012, Bennett allegedly shot a man multiple times with a shotgun inside the man’s home according to an arrest narrative report written by Raleigh Morris of the Hurricane Police Department. The alleged victim was transported to the University Trauma Unit in Las Vegas with critical injuries and Bennett was booked into Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility on second-degree felony aggravated assault charges with intent to inflict severe bodily harm.

Bail for Bennett was set in the amount of $100,000 and the next day, upon review of the Police Department’s report, Bennett was charged with attempted murder, a first-degree felony, by the Washington County Attorney’s office.

Note: Persons arrested are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

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