Octavius Easterling has been found competent to stand trial for the November 2019 shooting death of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff freshman basketball player and ROTC cadet Sierra Wade of Lake Village.
Easterling, 42, is alleged to have shot Wade at a Lake Village park on November 25, 2019, around 6 p.m. while playing basketball with her brother who received a non-fatal gunshot wound.
Easterling is charged with capital murder and first-degree battery. If convicted of capital murder he could face the death penalty.
According to a report from Dr. Ben Silber, a clinical psychologist at the Arkansas State Hospital who conducted a three-hour clinical interview of Easterling, it was found that Easterling did not have a mental disease or defect at the time of the alleged crimes; had the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct at the time of the alleged offenses; had the capacity to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law at the time of the alleged offenses, and is fit to proceed to trial.
Easterling, through his attorney, William O. James, Jr., contested Dr. Silber’s findings. James requested a hearing to determine the sufficiency of the evaluation and the accuracy of its substantive findings.
A hearing before Circuit Judge Crews Puryear was held on August 16. Puryear found that Easterling is competent to stand trial.