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Tue, Oct. 22

Defendant in murder case competent to stand trial

Zachary Stewart Sutton, 24, of Prescott

Zachary Stewart Sutton, 24, of Prescott

PRESCOTT - A man accused of setting a fire that killed a woman in January has completed the Yavapai County Restoration to Competency (RTC) program and could stand trial, a judge said Monday.

Zachary Stewart Sutton, 24, of Prescott, was indicted on several charges including first-degree murder per domestic violence, arson, necrophilia, animal cruelty and more.

On Jan. 12, the body of Carey L. Johnson, 44, was found in the burnt-out bedroom of a house in the 700 block of Campbell Avenue. A spokesman for the Prescott Police Department said Johnson, Sutton's girlfriend, died from multiple stab wounds before the fire started.

Lt. Andy Reinhardt said detectives arrested Sutton after he admitted "to detectives that he killed her prior to lighting the house on fire."

Sutton had been examined and diagnosed as incompetent to participate in his own defense. However, after completing the RTC, Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley said the final report indicated he was now competent.

His attorney, William Feldhacker, asked Ainley for a hearing with the doctors involved in Sutton's treatment in the RTC program, and she agreed, setting it for Sept. 21.

Ainley agreed to hold off setting a trial date until after the hearing.

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