Competency jury trial begins for suspect in murder of Welch girls

Competency jury trial begins for suspect in murder of Welch girls
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A jury will decide whether Ronnie Busick is competent to stand trial on several counts of murder.

The competency trial started today and a jury has been chosen. Opening statements got underway around 3:00 p.m.

Busick is one of three people accused of killing two northeast Oklahoma girls who have been missing for two decades. The other two suspects have since passed away.

In June 2019, a judge approved three separate competency assessments to be done on Busick. The court, defense and prosecution all found their own experts to evaluate him.

Those evaluations are finished. However, the defense demanded a jury trial to determine if Busick is competent to stand trial.

Craig County District Judge Jacqueline Stout approved the request.

Since being arrested and charged, Busick has undergone several mental observations and evaluations.

Busick was charged in 2018 in the Dec. 30, 1999, deaths of Danny Freeman and his wife Kathy Freeman, whose bodies were found in their burning home near the Kansas border, and the disappearances of their 16-year-old daughter, Ashley Freeman, and her 16-year-old friend, Lauria Bible.

Authorities say Lauria was spending the night at Ashley’s home that night. There were no signs of the girls.

In April 2018, the Craig County District Attorney identified three suspects. Two of the suspects, Philip Welch and David Pennington, have died since the crime.

Ronnie Busick was arrested and charged with four counts of first degree murder, two counts of kidnapping and one county of first degree arson.

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