R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Houston man's arson trial is delayed due to brain tumor

The trial for the man accused of burning down a Houston, Texas, furniture store has been delayed because the man's defense team successfully argued that he is not competent to stand trial. According to reports, the man has a nonmalignant brain tumor, which has impaired his cognitive and physical abilities. This medical ailment has left the man unable to adequately participate in his own property crimes defense. After the man recuperates, the trial will resume.

Reportedly, the 69-year-old man is said to have set fire to a large furniture store where he was once employed. A longstanding feud with the store's owner is said to be the reason why the man would consider committing arson. He has been charged with criminal mischief for his role in starting the blaze, which could lead to a sentence of probation or life behind bars, depending on whether or not he is convicted. Ever since he was suspected of committing this act of arson, the man has maintained his innocence.

The store's owner has openly expressed his disappointment that the trial was unable to continue. Despite the owner's frustrations, the man accused of this serious crime should have the ability to properly defend against the accusations brought against him. Apparently, the man is no longer able to walk and has trouble with cognitive functions because of the tumor. The defendant's attorney stated that anyone that is dealing with a serious medical issue should be given the time necessary to be healthy enough to go on trial.

Whenever someone in Houston is dealing with such weighty property crimes charges, it is important to make sure their defense team is ready to act in the best interests of their client. The life-threatening nature of the man's brain tumor was enough to warrant the trial's delay. Thankfully, the man's defense did the right thing. No matter how serious the charges leveled against an individual, they have a constitutional right to mount a strong defense on their behalf. This includes the ability to have a competent attorney and have the physical wherewithal to provide for their own defense.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Suspect in Gallery Furniture fire ruled incompetent to stand trial," Brian Rogers, March 26, 2012

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