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Competency exam expected for murder-suicide suspect

By Audra Gamble/The Holland Sentinel • Sep 11, 2018 at 10:00 AM

After spending several weeks at the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor hospital under guard, Michael Scott McNeal — who allegedly shot and killed his wife, then attempted suicide — was scheduled to appear in Ottawa County court for a preliminary hearing Sept. 5.

However, the hearing was adjourned after an order was placed in his file for a competency exam. The mandated mental health exam would evaluate McNeal’s ability to comprehend the charges against him and whether he is able to assist in his own defense.

According to court clerks, it could take several months to complete the competency exam and have it reviewed by a judge. Until then, no further court proceedings will be scheduled in McNeal’s case.

McNeal, 55, has significant facial damage from the alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound. He has already had several facial reconstructive surgeries and will have future surgeries while in the custody of the Ottawa County Jail.

He was charged with open murder and using a firearm to commit a felony. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

At his arraignment, McNeal was denied bond and will remain in jail until a verdict is reached.

The shooting incident, which took place at the McNeals’ Barry Street home in Port Sheldon Township in the early hours of July 24, happened in the couple’s yard near a horse trailer Sherri McNeal had been sleeping in.

The McNeals’ 17-year-old son, who was online playing video games with friends at his home at the time of the shooting, is currently staying with other family members in the area.

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