Lawyer: Woman accused in O’Reilly shooting has problem

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News

Detroit — The alleged trigger woman accused in the robbery and fatal shooting of a retired Marine and Vietnam veteran has a mental problem, her attorney told a judge Wednesday in requesting a mental competency exam for her.

Shawnta Anderson

Detroiter Shawnta S. Anderson, who allegedly killed O’Reilly Auto Parts store manager James Haller Jr. earlier this month at the auto parts store on the city’s west side, stood before 36th District Court Judge Deborah Lewis Langston on Wednesday along with co-defendants Leviticus V. Butler and Eboni McEwen-Ross, also both of Detroit, for a probable cause conference in the case.

Anderson’s attorney, Robert Kinny, asked Langston for a mental competency exam for Anderson, saying she “has been seeing a psychiatrist ... and she was on Zoloft” before the fatal shooting of Haller.

Langston granted Kinney’s request and set a 60-day review date for the results of the psychiatric evaluation and a 90-day deadline for a competency hearing. The other suspects were scheduled for a Dec. 19 preliminary examination in the case.

Patricia Haller was in court as shooting suspects Eboni McEwen-Ross, Leviticus Butler, and Shawnta Anderson stood before Judge Deborah Lewis Langston on Wednesday in Detroit.

Haller’s widow, Patricia, looked on in the courtroom and had to be consoled during the hearing.

Anderson, 23, was not given bond. Butler, 38, was given a $500,000 cash-surety bond during his arraignment earlier this month, but Langston granted a request by his defense attorney, Larry Polk, to lower his bond. Langston set Butler’s bond to $25,000 cash surety. Polk had asked for a much lower bond of $5,000, 10 percent.

Polk argued his client was charged only with a five-year felony, accessory after the fact, had no prior criminal record and that “his bond is truly unreasonable.” Langston shot back that Butler “went straight to the top” of the criminal offenses with the case he is charged in.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Danielle Strace told the judge that Butler is accused of “harboring one of the defendants.”

McEwen-Ross, 28, also was denied bond following her arraignment in 36th District Court on Nov. 16. It is alleged that McEwen-Ross took money out of the store’s cash register and fled the scene.

Haller was shot in the head Nov. 1 following a robbery at the O’Reilly store on the 16800 block of Schaefer.

The military veteran was in the back area of the store while two cashiers were behind the counter helping customers when Anderson allegedly walked in and pointed a handgun at one of the employees and ordered him to the floor. She then allegedly went to the other cashier, pointed a gun and ordered her to open the store’s cash register.

Eboni McEwen-Ross, from left, Leviticus Butler, and Shawnta Anderson stand before Judge Deborah Lewis Langston on Wednesday in Detroit.

When Anderson walked from behind the counter, Haller came from the back of the store and said “hey.” Anderson allegedly fired a single shot, striking Haller in the head. Anderson then fled the scene in an SUV. Police and medics arrived shortly after and transported Haller to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead two hours later.

It is alleged that after Anderson fled the store, Butler acted as an accessory after the fact by assisting Anderson in escaping police.

Anderson is charged with one count of felony murder, punishable by up to life in prison without the possibility of parole; two counts of armed robbery, a felony which also brings a maximum penalty of life in prison; and three counts of felony firearm, a two-year felony.

Butler has been charged with one count of accessory after the fact, a felony punishable by up to five years behind bars.

McEwen-Ross is charged with one count of felony murder, which carries a penalty of life in prison without parole, and two counts of armed robbery, a felony punishable by up to life behind bars.

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