Hitchhiker competent to stand trial for murder

Posted at 8:40 AM, Jan 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-08 10:40:34-05

A Colorado judge has ruled that a hitchhiker accused of fatally stabbing a man who gave him a cross-country ride is mentally fit to stand trial.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Fourth Judicial District Judge Jann P. DuBois ruled Wednesday that the 34-year-old hitchhiker, Michael Jonathan Ray, understands the murder charge against him, ending more than six months of court battles over the defendant's mental health.

If he had been found incompetent, the case would have been placed on hold while Ray was treated at a mental health institute.

Ray was arrested in August 2014 in the stabbing death of 31-year-old Patrick Hampton in the parking lot outside the Comfort Suites in Colorado Springs.

Authorities say Hampton and his family were homeless and on a cross-country trip when they encountered Ray, also homeless, and agreed to let him ride along.