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Mental evaluation ordered

Judge wants woman accused of murder evaluated for mental competency

Northern Judicial Circuit Court Judge Chris Phelps has ordered Savanna Marie Jennings, 19, the third of three teenagers who were charged with murder in the shooting death of 86-year-old Otha Perrin in January of 2018, to undergo testing to see if she has the mental competency to understand “the nature and object” of her murder trial.

In a court order filed in Elbert County Superior Court last week,  Phelps wrote that Jennings’ “mental competency to stand trial ... has been called into question.”

Jennings was arrested and charged with murder along with two other teenagers, William David Peterson, 19, and Dakota Scott Street, also 19. In August Street entered a plea of guilty just before his jury trial was to begin.  He was sentenced to 45 years with the first 30 years to be served in prison. In July Peterson, who admitted to shooting Perrin in the chest multiple times, entered a guilty plea and received a life sentence.

Peterson will not be eligible to apply for parole until 2048, when he is 49 years old. 

After Perrin had been murdered at his home, Northern Judicial Circuit District Attorney Parks White said his body was wrapped in a sheet tied with speaker wire and rope and that the body was placed in a pond to conceal Perrin’s  death.

Jennings, according court filings, went to the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office after the murder and reported Perrin missing. Court records indicate she was Perrin’s granddaughter. Jennings’ trial is scheduled to begin on Feb. 18, but according to White, her trial is “pending a mental evaluation.” See EVALUATION on Page 2

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