Jury selection begins Monday for murder trial

Defendant found competent to stand trial

Jury selection is set to begin Monday in state district court for a Lake Charles man who is charged with second-degree murder.

Richard Douglas Westbrook, 41, was found competent to stand trial after a sanity hearing last year.

Westbrook is alleged to have fatally stabbed Julie A. McQuilliams, 47, on Feb. 14, 2017, in the 3200 block of Landfair Street.

Authorities said the body of McQuilliams was found in the road, around 5 a.m.

A grand jury indicted Westbrook last year on one count of second-degree murder.

In June of last year, psychiatrists Dr. James Anderson and Dr. Patrick Hayes, both of whom had evaluated Westbrook, testified at a sanity hearing that Westbrook was competent to proceed to trial.

Both psychiatrists said Westbrook had been taking a number of medications at the time of their evaluations, including those for psychosis, depression, mood stabilizing and anxiety, and that he should remain on them.

Defense attorney Andrew Casanave, during the sanity hearing, asked Anderson about Westbrook’s previous hospitalization for mental health issues. 

Anderson said that Westbrook had been hospitalized twice — once when he was in elementary school and another time about 10-12 years ago.

Judge David Ritchie declared Westbrook competent for trial, which was originally set for last November but was postponed.

Westbrook was arrested on the day McQuilliams was stabbed.

He remains in the Calcasieu Correctional Center.

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Jury selection is set to begin Monday in state district court for the trial of Richard Douglas Westbrook who is charged with second-degree murder.

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