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By BOB WHITE
RADCLIFF — The teenager charged in last May’s shooting death of a pregnant teen mother was found competent Tuesday morning to stand trial next month.
Dr. Timothy Allen, a psychiatrist working for Kentucky’s Department of Corrections, testified Tuesday in Hardin Circuit Court that Andrew Lamont “Country” Edelen, 19, is of average intelligence and capable of assisting in his defense.
Edelen was indicted on charges of murder and fetal homicide after police said he fired a fatal shot at 18-year-old Alena Cunningham during a heated argument outside an Elmwood Drive apartment complex May 6, 2007 in Radcliff.
Edelen fled after the shooting, but was found in a stand of trees behind the south-Radcliff home of his former foster-mother Shirley Holt.
In a previous interview, Holt said the decision to turn him in was difficult, but she believed it was the best way to keep the situation from escalating.
Holt said he “bawled on the phone” when he heard his shot had killed Cunningham and her unborn child. Holt received numerous calls from Edelen while he was evading capture.
There were unconfirmed reports that Cunningham was running at Edelen with a kitchen knife when he shot her in the shoulder. Radcliff investigators initially charged Edelen with assault after the incident. It was only after review by a grand jury that the charge was upped to murder.
Cunningham’s boyfriend, Ricky Crump, said he didn’t see a knife in her hands during their argument, but did confirm Cunningham was going after Edelen when she was shot.
Crump said he was questioned by police about a small “kitchen-type” knife after the shooting occurred.
According to friends and family of Cunningham, she and Edelen had a relationship no one understood. Cunningham’s mother, Martha Gradick, said the two never dated, and thinks Edelen may have gotten upset about that. The pair had argued in front of others previously.
In the courtroom Tuesday, the psychiatrist who evaluated Edelen said the teen who grew up in foster care had problems developing meaningful relationships.
“He sees them more as a means to an end, rather than deep personal relationships,” Allen said.
Cunningham was also described by friends and relatives as a fiery teen who didn’t take much flak before firing back.
Their relationship died in confrontation and resulted in two lives coming to an end.
If found guilty on the murder and fetal homicide charges, Edelen faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted. The trial is scheduled for June 23.
Bob White can be
reached at (270) 505-1750.