Competency hearing for woman charged in nephew’s death enters fourth day

Former detective says phone calls prove defendant understands court proceedings

WEBXTRA: Competency hearing for woman charged in nephew’s death enters fourth day

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The competency hearing for a woman accused in the death of her nephew entered its fourth day Monday morning.

Brett Maisel, a former detective with the Angelina County Sheriffs Office, testified about evidence collected from phone calls Bill Jean Cuttler made from jail. Maisel told the jury that Cuttler was transported to the Angelina County Jail on October 9, 2015.

In August 2017, Cuttler filed a complaint that someone had used her PIN number in the jail.

Maisel told the jury that phone calls made by inmates are recorded and that as an investigator he can learn more about a case by listening to those calls. During his testimony, jurors heard several recordings of jail calls.

According to Maisel, evidence collected from those calls shows that Cuttler understands court proceedings and is competent to stand trial.

This is the second competency trial for Cuttler. She and Bobby Woods Jr. were originally charged with capital murder in the 2015 death of Mason Cuttler.

According to an arrest affidavit, Woods told investigators he took Mason to a pond near their home, pushed him into the water, watched him as he began to drown and made no attempt to rescue him, despite Mason’s cries for help.

In court last week, a forensic psychologist Wendy Elliott told the jury in her expert opinion, Cuttler is not competent to stand trial.

The hearing is being held to determine if Cuttler is able to understand and participate in court proceedings.

Judge Paul White previously ruled that the hearing would go no longer than May 21. A jury will determine Cuttler’s competency after hearing evidence from the prosecutor and Cuttler’s defense attorney.

Jury decides Billie Jean Cuttler not fit to stand trial in nephew’s death

Copyright 2019 KTRE. All rights reserved.