A 25-year-old Greenwood man who was charged with murder following a shooting at Ale Emporium in March was found incompetent to stand trial Thursday.
Marco Antonio Gonzalez, 25, is charged with murder for the March 8 death of Timothy A. Sannito, 52, of Indianapolis, outside Ale Emporium, 997 E. County Line Road. Sannito was shot twice and found unresponsive in the restaurant’s parking lot. He later died at Sidney & Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, officials said.
On Thursday, Johnson County Superior Court 3 Judge Douglas Cummins issued an order finding that Gonzalez was incompetent to stand trial for the charges. The ruling came after receiving competency evaluations from mental health experts Dr. George Parker and Dr. Don Olive, who found Gonzalez to be “presently incapable of assisting his defense” as required by Indiana law, according to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office.
The ruling was also after both Gonzalez’s attorney, Kathie Perry of Baldwin Perry & Wiley, P.C., and the prosecutor’s office reviewed the reports and concurred with the findings.
Perry said via email she does not have a comment on the ruling. The competency evaluations were ordered in response to a motion filed by Perry in August.
Because of the ruling, the case is indefinitely delayed from proceeding. Gonzalez has been ordered to go to a state hospital for his competency to be restored. If it is restored in the future, he will be sent back to court to stand trial.
Johnson County Prosecutor Lance Hamner said in a written statement that the ruling does not mean that Gonzalez is “off the hook” for the charges.
“He is being held indefinitely in a secure facility and this case will be on pause for the time being,” Hamner said. “My office will be ready to proceed to trial when this defendant’s competency is restored and he is returned from the state hospital.”
After Gonzalez was arrested by Greenwood police for the shooting, he initially gave investigators vague answers and declined to answer questions. Eventually, detectives asked him if he was aware he was being charged with murder, and he replied “uh yeah,” a probable cause affidavit shows.
Gonzalez was asked how he felt about being charged with murder, and Gonzalez reportedly replied that “maybe it’s not murder” and questioned whether the charge would “stick,” suggesting it should be manslaughter instead, court documents say.
He told police he should be charged with manslaughter because it wasn’t premeditated and he didn’t know Sannito. Gonzalez also said he was “not really” being threatened by anyone or afraid of anything at the time of the shooting, the affidavit says.
While being transported to the Johnson County jail, Gonzalez asked an officer if they had killed someone before. The officer said yes, saying he served in the military and was involved in a police-action shooting. After some silence, Gonzalez reportedly said, “I should have joined the military, at least then I could have murdered someone and gotten away with it,” court documents say.