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Cedar Rapids man charged in fatal beating of woman now competent for trial
Murder trial set for Feb. 14 in case caller claimed was a heroin overdose
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Cedar Rapids man charged with killing a woman last April is now competent to stand trial, according to a new psychiatric evaluation.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Fae Hoover ordered Arthur Flowers, 62, to undergo treatment to restore his competency in order for him to be tried for the fatal assault of Emily Leonard, 22, of Cedar Rapids, on April 2, 2022.
Flowers, charged with first-degree murder, was found incompetent last July by a psychiatrist at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Coralville.
On Friday, Hoover, during a hearing, lifted the stay or temporary suspension of the case now that Flowers can understand the charges against him and assist his lawyers on the case. Flowers’ attorneys questioned if he wanted them to represent him because they said Flowers had indicated he might want new lawyers.
During a June hearing, Flowers accused his lawyers of incompetency. He also told Hoover he wanted to represent himself at trial. He said his current public defenders didn’t have experience with murder charges and their caseload was too large to devote time to his case.
Hoover asked Flowers on Friday if he was seeking new counsel, but he said he wasn’t. Nekeidra Tucker and Adrian Haughton will continue to represent him.
Flowers has demanded a speedy trial, and his trial remains set for Feb. 14. The defense and prosecution confirmed they would be prepared to start trial in less than two weeks.
Flowers called 911 on April 2, and when officers arrived after 6 p.m. at his home in southeast Cedar Rapids, he told them a woman, later identified as Leonard, had overdosed on heroin.
According to a criminal complaint, Flowers initially attempted to leave when officers arrived but then took them to a bathroom where they found Leonard with “obvious head injuries and blood spatter all over the bathroom.” The woman’s clothing was in disarray, and police said they found a bloodied 1-by-6-inch board, which investigators believed was the murder weapon, the criminal complaint stated.
Flowers provided details about the incident that were not consistent with the crime scene, police said. He also appeared to have blood on his hands and was wearing “what he described as” Leonard’s pants when officers arrived, the complaint stated.
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