Monday, Oct. 20, Steven Victor Wertz returned to the Sharp County courtroom where just over a year ago a local jury sentenced him to death by lethal injection.
Wertz was convicted of the 1986 murder of Terry Watts, 25, and his wife Kathy, 22. Special Prosecutor John McQuary brought a strong case against Wertz during the July 2007 trial.
During the trial, McQuary called James Snyder to testify against Wertz. Snyder was charged as an accomplice in the murder. McQuary also called Belinda, Wertz's wife at the time of the murder, to the stand. Belinda testified she had previously lied about Wertz's whereabouts the night of the murder.
Belinda was Terry Watts' first wife, who after divorcing Watts married Wertz. Wertz and Belinda had lost a custody battle over Belinda and Terry's 5-year-old daughter, Chasenda just before the murders occurred.
When the bodies of the couple were discovered, their 11-month-old son, Joshua, was found unharmed, sleeping between his father's legs.
Joshua, along with his grandmother Judy Bone, Kathy's mother, attended the hearing Oct. 20.
After being incarcerated for the past year, Wertz went before Judge Harold Erwin to request a Rule 37, which states he had incompetent representation during his trial. Judge Erwin explained the law states anyone sentenced to capital murder is given the opportunity to file Rule 37.
Judge Erwin said he will determine if Wertz is indigent, meaning unable to pay for his own counsel, and appoint an attorney. The judge told Wertz an attorney would be in contact with him and a hearing would be scheduled to decide if Wertz had incompetent counsel.