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Competency hearing ordered for Warwick City Park murder suspect

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A judge has ordered a competency evaluation for the man accused of killing John “Jack” Fay in Warwick in 2013.

Judge Elaine Bucci convened with attorneys in Kent County District Court Tuesday morning and approved a defense request for a competency evaluation for Michael Soares.

Soares, 33, faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with Fay’s death and has been held without bail since February 6. He was not present in court Tuesday morning.

Judge Bucci moved for a status hearing to be held in March. However, Bucci said she would not issue a habeas, meaning Soares would not need to be present on the day of his status hearing. 

Fay, 66, was a retired postal worker and a Vietnam veteran, according to Capt. Joseph Hopkins. He said Fay went for a run in Warwick City Park on May 16, 2013, and was ambushed in an isolated part of the path around 4:30 a.m.

Fay’s body was discovered inside a barrel about 36 hours after the murder. The cause of his death was ruled to be stab wounds and blunt force trauma, which Hopkins said came from a 2.5-pound hammer that was found at the scene.

Warwick police announced they made an arrest in the nearly six-year-old homicide investigation earlier this month after a genealogical research company and a public DNA database led them to Soares. 

Police said they have not yet determined a motive in Fay’s killing, and the investigation is still “very active.”

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