Iowa Coach Shooting Suspect Will Stand Trial

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - A judge has ruled the man accused of gunning down a legendary Iowa high school football coach is mentally competent to stand trial.

Butler County District Judge Stephen Carroll filed an order Monday that says 24-year-old Mark D. Becker can appreciate the charges against him, understand the proceedings and assist with his defense.

Becker had been scheduled to stand trial last month in the June shooting death of Aplington-Parkersburg coach Ed Thomas.

The case was put on hold pending the mental competency ruling after experts agreed Becker hallucinates and suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, but offered different opinions on whether he was mentally fit to stand trial.

Carroll has ordered a new trial date set.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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