Psychological evaluations could delay Upatoi triple murder trial

Psychological evaluations could delay Upatoi triple murder trial

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - The Upatoi triple murder trial set for Sept. 12, could be facing another delay.

The three suspects,16-year old, Rufus Burks, 20-year old Raheam Gibson, and 18-year old Javarceay Tapley all accused of brutally murdering Gloria Short, her teenage son, Caleb Short, and granddaughter Gianne Lindsey, in their Upatoi home, January of 2016.

There is still evidence being collected at the GBI crime lab and psychological evaluation results that have not been completed.

According to defense attorneys for the two co-defendants, results of the tests will not have been received or completed.

"Once we have all those things, then we will be in the position to see how this case is going to resolve with going forward. We just have to take our time, make sure we are doing it correctly and then, once we have everything, we will be able to take the next steps," said Defense Attorney, William Kendrick.

The tests aim to determine "degree of mental awareness and responsibility during the time of the said criminal act and competency to stand trial."

Defense Attorney William Kendrick for Raheam Gibson says high profile murder cases sometimes take time.

"When we have cases like this with multiple co-defendants, and things of that nature, you expect that it would maybe take a little bit longer than typical, but we are in a good time frame where we stand right now, the case is marching on," said Kendrick.

During a status hearing this past June, the judge presiding over this case, Gil McBride, set a tentative trial date for Sept. 12. As of now, that date has not been changed.

Defense Attorney Mark Shelnutt, says the trial actually beginning on that date is unlikely.

Family of the three victims say they are frustrated with the further delays.

"It's very frustrating for my family right now. We want this to be over and it seems to be a never-ending nightmare. This past year and a half has been the worst of our lives, and we just want closure in some ways. We will ultimately grieve our losses for the rest of our lives, but we do want some measure of closure," said Shameika Averett, daughter and sister of Gloria and Caleb Short.

Copyright 2017 WTVM. All rights reserved. | For more news, download the WTVM app here.