Proceedings in Kenneth Osburn’s retrial in the August 2006 strangulation death of 17-year-old Casey Crowder have been suspended pending the result of a mental evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial.
The 53-year-old Desha County man was sentenced in January 2008 to life in prison after an Ashley County jury convicted him of kidnapping and capital murder in the death of the Pine Bluff teen.
Crowder’s body was found near a drainage canal east of Dumas on September 2, 2006 with a black zip-tie around her neck. She had been missing since August 27, 2006 when her vehicle ran out of gas on U.S. 65 in Dumas while returning to Pine Bluff from her boyfriend’s home in Pickens.
The Arkansas Supreme Court in a 5-2 decision, overturned the conviction and sent the case back to Ashley County for a new trial. The case had been moved from Desha County, where the crime occurred, to Ashley County due to pretrial publicity.
The state Supreme Court said Osburn’s Constitutional rights were violated prior to his arrest when investigators continued to interrogate him without an attorney even though he requested one.
Osburn was set to be retried later this month but during a pretrial hearing this week Circuit Judge Sam Pope granted the defense motion for a mental evaluation to determine if Osburn is currently fit to stand trial.
Osburn is being held without bond in the Ashley County Detention Center.