A Buckeye teen accused of killing a Department of Corrections officer last fall during a carjacking has been declared competent to stand trial, according to Maricopa County Superior Court documents.
Felix Vasquez, 17, was declared "criminally incompetent" Jan. 29 and ordered to complete an involuntary treatment program, court records show. The court found Vasquez competent at his hearing Monday.
Vasquez and Benjamin Cannon, 16, were indicted on first-degree murder, armed robbery, auto theft and arson on Oct. 30 in connection with the slaying of Bradley Gerrard, 28, documents state. Vasquez and Cannon pleaded not guilty at their arraignments on Nov. 18 and 19, respectively.
About 11:30 p.m. Oct. 18, Gerrard was on his way back to his Buckeye home in the Tartesso community after a late-night run to Walmart to pick up an air mattress for a visiting relative, records show. He stopped at
Tartesso Boulevard and Bruner Road to offer help to one of the teens he saw lying in the road.
But as Gerrard approached, the other teen ran out of hiding and shot him in the chest with a shotgun, according to police. The youths then took the car keys, dumped a child's car seat and stroller, and drove to a party in Goodyear, police said.
Gerrard's body was discovered after midnight. A few hours later, police found the shotgun and car, burned and abandoned in the desert nearby.
Gerrard had been a DOC officer for four years and was assigned to the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis near Buckeye. He left behind a then 2-year-old son and pregnant wife.
Vasquez and Cannon, also Tartesso residents, were arrested Oct. 22 and admitted their involvement, records show. Both told the same story but implicated the other as the gunman.
Each is being held on a $2 million bond. Cannon's trial is set to begin Oct. 26.