BRADENTON — The first-degree murder trial of Otis C. Mack in the killing of 74-year-old Janice Fore has ground to halt after defense attorneys told a judge this morning Mack showed signs that he is not mentally fit to continue with proceedings.
Attorneys Steven Schaefer and Stephen Walker filed a motion notifying the court of Mack’s suspected mental health problems, which stopped the trial until Thursday, at the earliest. Jurors were sent home for the day.
By law, the motion forced Circuit Judge Diana Moreland to stop the trial until two doctors can interview Mack to see if he is competent to move forward with the trial. Mack in the past has been diagnosed with a low IQ, and one intelligence test showed him to be mentally “retarded,” according to court records.
Mack is accused of breaking into Fore’s Northwest Bradenton home with his co-defendant, Marcos Herrera, in May 2008, and binding and gagging Fore with duct tape during a burglary. Fore, who suffered from a lung disease, suffocated after the men wrapped duct tape around her head and over her mouth, prosecutors say.
In April, a jury found Herrera guilty of first-degree murder and burglary. A judge sentenced him to life in prison.