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Evaluation delays hearing in slaying

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VERNAL — A preliminary hearing for a Vernal man, accused of gunning down a police chief last July, has been postponed while a mental evaluation is completed.

Lee Roy Wood is charged in the July 6 shooting death of Roosevelt Police Chief Cecil Gurr at the Maverik convenience store in Ballard. In addition to facing one count of capital murder, Wood is also charged with three counts of attempted aggravated murder, one count of aggravated assault and possession of a dangerous weapon.

According to police, a man was seen abusing his female companion when Gurr responded to the domestic dispute at the convenience store. When police arrived, prosecutors say the man began firing shots. One of the bullets struck Gurr in the head, killing him instantly.

Wood, 35, was sent to the state hospital last month for an evaluation to determine if he is mentally able to stand trial.

Wood was to appear in 4th District Court in Vernal Tuesday for a preliminary hearing. State officials have reported that Wood's mental evaluation would not be complete in time for Tuesday's hearing.

Judge Lynn Payne has called for a telephone conference Tuesday to determine when the preliminary hearing will be rescheduled.