Trial for man facing death penalty delayed

Michael Allen Tharp is led to a courtroom for pretrial hearing in this August 11, 2016 photo.
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Dothan (WTVY)-- Michael Allen Tharp didn’t go on trial Monday as scheduled for allegedly killing his step-father. Instead, his capital murder case was continued until at least 2018. The reason for the delay isn’t immediately known.

Tharp was arrested for the December 2012 death of 68-year old Joseph Bernard Hendley, found shot to death in his Cowarts home. Prosecutors say robbery was the motive.

Defense attorneys argued Tharp, who is from Houston County, was not mentally competent to stand trial but after a hearing last month where an expert testified Houston County Circuit Judge Kevin Moulton ruled he is competent. If convicted, Tharp could be sentenced to death.

Court records, as of Monday, didn’t reveal why the continuance was requested. A new trial date will be set later.