Haraquon Degruy, a young woman accused along with Dexter Allen in a double homicide that shocked a quiet Metairie neighborhood in April, has been ruled mentally incompetent, at least for the time being.
Degruy, 18, underwent a psychological evaluation ordered by 24th Judicial District Judge Ray Steib last month, and Steib ruled Wednesday that she will be sent to the state psychiatric hospital near Jackson for further testing.
Steib set a competency hearing for Jan. 20 to make a final decision on whether Degruy can stand trial on two counts of being a principal to second-degree murder, along with a raft of burglary charges.
Degruy’s attorneys told the judge last month that she was diagnosed as mentally disabled when she was 13 and was placed under a suicide watch when she was jailed after her arrest in April.
Degruy and Allen, 17, are accused of an April 22 crime spree that began with burglarizing cars and ended when Allen allegedly shot David Pence, 56, and his 25-year-old son Nicholas with a shotgun in their home in the 3700 block of Clifford Drive.
Degruy was arrested two days later after she and Allen led police on a chase in a white Toyota Highlander that was seen in the Pences’ neighborhood just before the shootings. Allen tried to escape by jumping off a bridge but was arrested shortly afterward.
Deputies say Allen entered an open side door of the Pence house just before midnight and shot the elder Pence in the neck, chest and leg as he sat in his chair, then shot his son in the face and head.
David Pence’s wife, Elizabeth, who had gone up to bed minutes earlier, came into the living room after hearing the noise and found her husband and son dead.
Authorities said Degruy was outside in the car during the shootings.
Authorities said Allen had skipped a court date in New Orleans earlier that day and began the string of burglaries that would end in the shooting of the Pences.
Allen has pleaded not guilty and is being held in Jefferson Parish Correctional Center. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison without benefit of parole, though that is not automatic because he was younger than 18 at the time of the crime.