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Horton faces competency trial

The next step in James Horton’s case is a competency trial by judge set for May 20.

Horton, of Red Bay, was arrested in January 2018 and charged with four counts of indecent exposure, two counts of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 and one count of criminal surveillance. He was a member of the Foster Grandparent Program of Northwest Alabama and was volunteering at Red Bay Elementary School at the time.

He was indicted in March 2018 for those charges plus two counts of a school employee having sexual contact with a student under the age of 19.

Franklin County district attorney Joey Rushing said Horton’s August 2018 trial was postponed because of documents filed that brought into question Horton’s competency to stand trial because of his mental state.

The competency trial is set for May 20, and Rushing said the judge will make a decision based on the records provided and reports from experts who will evaluate Horton. If the judge finds Horton competent, Rushing said the case could go to trial as early as June. If the judge finds Horton incompetent, the trial will be delayed, and Horton will be sent to the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility, where personnel there will determine if he can be restored to competency to stand trial.