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Competency hearing set for suspect in shooting death

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Proceedings to begin Friday

By Sarah Bennett

An Elizabethtown man accused of shooting another man nine times following an argument last June is scheduled to appear Friday in court for a competency hearing.

Robert J. Tarafa, 26, was arrested June 9 in connection to the shooting death of Frank Knapp, 32, at Memorial Apartments in Elizabethtown. According to police, Tarafa and Knapp were involved in a physical altercation that ended when Tarafa allegedly shot the other man nine times using two weapons.

Tarafa faces charges of murder, two counts of possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, tampering with physical evidence, two counts of receiving a stolen firearm and second-degree persistent felony offense.

According to court records, Tarafa was admitted in January to the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center in LaGrange where staff members would determine if he understands the seriousness of his charges and is able to assist attorneys in his defense.

In a written motion filed Oct. 23, Tarafa’s attorney, public defender Heather Strotman, requested the competency and criminal responsibility evaluations. Hardin Circuit Judge Ken Howard approved the motion Nov. 16.

According to the defense’s motion, Tarafa has attempted suicide while incarcerated and reported “at the time of the offense he was not under proper medication or had a change of medication.”

The defendant also is unable to communicate effectively with his attorneys and shows “delusional thinking” in regard to his case, according to the motion.

Tarafa is lodged at the Hardin County Detention Center in lieu of a $500,000 cash bond.

He is scheduled to appear at 1:15 p.m. Friday for the hearing. The case is set to proceed to a jury trial June 10.

Sarah Bennett can be reached at (270) 505-1750 or sbennett@thenewsenterprise.com.