Circuit Judge Bynum Gibson has set a Tuesday competency hearing for Daniel Pedraza, a 24-year-old Drew County man charged with capital murder in the February 2012 beating death of his 2-year-old step-daughter, Aubriana Coke.
Pedraza, through his attorneys, Jeff Rosenzweig, Birc Morledge and Timothy Leonard, filed a notice last month saying their client is not fit to proceed with his May 30 capital murder trial and requested a court-ordered mental evaluation.
In the notice, Pedraza’s attorneys provided copies of letters from a neuropsyschologist and a psychiatrist who say Pedraza suffers from Post Tramatic Stress Disorder.
Pedraza was subsequently committed to the Arkansas State Hospital for a mental evaluation. That evaluation is now complete and a competency hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Drew County Courthouse.
Aubriana Coke died on February 27 of multiple blunt force injuries, according to Dr. Steve Erickson, the state’s chief deputy medical examiner.
The toddler’s mother, Victoria Pedraza pleaded guilty last summer to permitting the abuse that prosecutors say led to her daughter’s death. In exchange for her guilty plea, 10th Judicial District Prosecutor Thomas Deen agreed to drop the capital murder charge against her with the understanding that she would cooperate with the state in the prosecution of Daniel Pedraza, and if she failed to do so the capital murder charge against her would be reinstated.