Angelina Co. jury will decide aunt's mental competency in case of drowned toddler

Angelina Co. jury will decide aunt's mental competency in case of drowned toddler
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - An Angelina County jury will decide whether or not a woman who has been charged with capital murder in connection to the August 2015 drowning death of her 3-year-old nephew is competent to stand trial.

Billie Jean Cuttler appeared in Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District Court Friday morning after White ordered a second mental health evaluation be performed on her back in May.

Because there was a discrepancy between Cuttler's first mental health evaluation and the second one, a jury will now decide whether she is competent to stand trial.

"This is different than her potential trial for the alleged crime," Defense Attorney Al Charanza said. "It's not only experts;. it is also persons that they may have information in their opinion that she is competent or not."

August will be the earliest time that the competency trial could be held for Cuttler.

Back in May, Cuttler's defense team requested that her bail amount be lowered. At the time, White said he would not discuss lowering her bail until after the second mental health evaluation.

Previously, the court said it may consider revoking the statements Cuttler made to the Angelina County Sheriff's Office because of her intellectual disabilities, depending on how she did on the competency evaluation.
Cuttler and Bobby Woods Jr. Are both facing capital murder charges for the death of Mason Cuttler. Back in March, April Perez, the prosecutor on the case, said that Cuttler will not be facing the death penalty. If she is found competent to stand trial and is found guilty, she will have to serve life in prison without parole.

According to the arrest affidavit for Woods, ACSO Lt. Brett Maisel and Texas Ranger Steven Rayburn interviewed Woods, who said he took Mason to the pond, pushed him into the water, and watched him as he began to drown. He allegedly turned his back to him, making no attempt to rescue him, despite Mason's cries for help.

The affidavit states Woods said he wanted Mason to die because his girlfriend was pregnant and he wanted to make room in the home for his unborn child.

However Cuttler's attorney, Albert Charanza, told East Texas News she was never pregnant.

Cuttler's family believes she had nothing to do with Mason's death.

"Billie Jean didn't do nothing, she wouldn't do it," Debra Cuttler, Billie Jeans mother said. "Her and Mason had a bond, they were very close."

Billie's Dad Kevin is just wanting his daughter to come home.

"I just want her to come home with us," Kevin Cuttler said. "She has been upset everytime i talk to her on the phone. she's been upset that she wants to come home."

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