Judge: Greenwood man now competent to stand trial for Ale Emporium shooting

More than two months after a 25-year-old man was committed to a state hospital, a judge has ruled he is once again competent to stand trial for a fatal shooting outside of a Greenwood restaurant.

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.

Johnson Superior Court 3 Judge Douglas Cummins issued an order Tuesday finding that Gonzalez was competent to stand trial for the charges — two-and-a-half months after he previously found Gonzalez incompetent to do so, sending him to a state hospital for his competency to be restored. He also ordered that Gonzalez be returned to the custody of the Johnson County jail, setting a pretrial hearing for Feb. 29, according to online court records.

“Now that Mr. Gonzalez has been deemed competent by the court, the state can move forward with getting this case to final disposition,” said Lance Hamner, Johnson County Prosecutor.

Gonzalez’s attorney, Kathie Perry of Baldwin Perry & Wiley, P.C., declined to comment on the decision.

The previous incompetency finding had essentially paused the case. Competency evaluations were ordered by Cummins in response to a motion filed by Perry in August.

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,” according to a court documents.

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, according to court documents.

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.