Trial Delayed for Man Accused in Palestine Slayings

MARIANNA, AR - The capital murder trial for the man accused of killing his mother-in-law and her parents has been delayed to await results of a psychiatric evaluation.

Jury selection was scheduled to begin today for the murder trial of Gordon Gwathney, whose attorney indicated they'll use an insanity defense.  Prosecutor Fletcher Long says the trial was continued because the state's mental evaluation has not yet been submitted.

Gwathney is accused of killing his mother-in-law, 51-year-old Sylvia Reeves, at her home on Arkansas 261 in Lee County, and her parents J.O.  and Evelyn Mitchell, on February 13, 2006.

He is also charged with attempted murder of his brother-in-law Travis Reeves and a St. Francis County Deputy Tracy Jackson, who responded to a report of the shootings.

Gwathney has undergone mental evaluations and has been declared competent to stand trial.

Gwathney faces the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

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