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Hendersonville teen ruled competent for murder trial

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Zachary Davis told the court he still hears the voice of his late father. Zachary Davis told the court he still hears the voice of his late father.
GALLATIN, TN (WSMV) -

A teenager charged with murdering his mother and trying to burn down their home is competent to stand trial, a Sumner County judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge Dee David Gay made that decision after two days of testimony from medical experts, family members and the defendant himself.

Zachary Davis is charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and arson after Melanie Davis was beaten to death in the family's Hendersonville home in August 2012. The woman's other son heard the smoke detector and was able to escape.

Davis told the court he has been transferred back and forth between the county jail and a mental health facility and still hears voices in his head.

"We've heard talk about you hearing voices when no one is there. Do you hear voices, Zach?" an attorney asked.

"Yes," the teen replied quietly.

"Can you tell the judge, do you recognize that voice?"

"It's the voice of my father," Davis said.

"And does he continue to talk with you even after you've been in the jail?"

"Yeah."

Defense attorney Randy Lucas previously told Channel 4 that Davis was only 9 years old when his father died of Lou Gehrig's disease.

"When your father talks to you, what kinds of things does he say to you?" the attorney asked.

"Mostly just conversation," Davis said.

"Has he ever told you to do anything specifically?"

"He sometimes tells me things to do but it's mostly just conversation," replied Davis.

Prosecutors said they will seek a life sentence in the case, but not life without parole. Davis is not eligible for the death penalty because he was only 15 at the time of the crime.

The case is set to go to trial July 14.

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