The man accused of killing two at a Des Moines trucking company last May has been declared mentally competent to stand trial.
Ronald James Hawkinson was scheduled to stand trial on January 7, 2103, but his lawyers were able to postpone the trial so that Hawkinson’s ‘mental ability’ could be evaluated by doctors.
On Friday, a judge declared Hawkinson mentally competent to stand trial. Hawkinson’s trial is scheduled to begin September 23. He faces two charges of first-degree murder.
According to the Des Moines Register, court papers show that on the day of the murders Hawkinson got into an altercation with Serif Hidic, 30, over a loan Hawkinson had taken from Hidic.
Authorities believe Robert Smoot, 49, walked into on the confrontation and was shot because he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
On May 7, 2012, police say Robert J. Hawkinson, 39, walked into Siebert Trucking and shot and killed two current Siebert employees: Serif Hidic, 30, and Robert Smoot, 49.
It is believed that Hawkinson was a disgruntled employee, and was enraged over a recent civil suit against him filed by Hidic. The suit claims Hawkinson defaulted on a $13,000 loan he received from Hidic to purchase a truck. Hidic loaned Hawkinson the money with the promise that Hawkinson would use the truck to drive for Siebert. Instead, Hawkinson used the truck to work for another company.
It is unknown why Hawkinson shot and killed Smoot. Police are saying it may be a case of in the wrong place at the wrong time.
At the time of the killings, Hawkinson was on probation for domestic violence. Hawkinson’s girlfriend Rhonda Plew, 41, was also arrested and is accused of being an accessory after the fact.
Hawkinson became an immediate person of interest, following the murders, because of the ongoing litigation.