Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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May 12, 2014

Murder case on hold for now

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — A death penalty case has for the moment been put on hold until its Wynnewood murder defendant has been checked out by mental health professionals.

Questions about Martin High’s competence have been raised by his own court appointed attorney, Bobby Lewis of Norman.

High, 43, is formally accused of brutally beating 84-year-old Glenn Brownlee to death in his own Wynnewood home nearly three years ago.

Now High’s competence is being described as “marginal” over the past two years.

“Mr. High’s ability to recall the past and discuss past events has recently seemed to get worse,” Lewis stated in a filed motion.

“(He) has trouble recalling previous discussions with counsel and does not seem to understand what is going on with this case despite having had it explained to him numerous times.”

Other factors listed in the court document are High’s serious thyroid condition, the possibility he’s borderline developmentally disabled and sports related injuries from the past that may have resulted in undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries.

High’s counsel also claimed their client does not seem to appreciate the nature of the DNA evidence in the case.

The order for a competency evaluation came during a recent hearing in a Garvin County District courtroom.

High is to undergo evaluations by mental health and substance abuse officials, along with developmental disabilities officials.

For now officials will wait to see if High is declared competent to stand trial before they proceed with his jury trial date in early August.

It was back on Sept. 29, 2011 when Brownlee’s body was found in his home by local police, who were called to the South Long residence in Wynnewood to check on the man’s welfare.

The body was discovered with what was described as “lots of blood on the floor.”

Officials have said Brownlee died from severe trauma to the head as robbery was considered a possible motive in the beating death.

The brutality of Brownlee’s death, caused by being beaten with some type of blunt instrument, led to prosecutors seeking the death penalty in this case if High is convicted.

High has denied having any involvement in the man’s death.

During a hearing in 2012 a state agent testified it was investigative techniques and talking to neighbors living near Brownlee that led to High being considered a suspect responsible for the brutal beating death.

Officials searching High’s residence two days after his arrest have said a T-shirt was found with what appeared to be blood splatters matching Brownlee’s DNA profile.

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