BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A teen defendant being charged as an adult has changed attorneys in her attempted capital murder case shortly before a judge is set to rule on her fitness to proceed to trial.
Halee Valdez, 18, was 17 years old when she was arrested on April 5 and charged with attempted capital murder, unlawful discharge of a firearm from a vehicle, and committing a terroristic act. On December 2, she filed a substitution of counsel memo, informing the Benton County Circuit Court that she was replacing her previous attorney, Hugh Brock Showalter, with Louis S. Lim. He filed an entry of appearance on the same day.
According to court documents, Valdez and David Magana, 18, arranged to meet a male victim on March 29 at approximately 2 a.m. in the area of Silent Grove and Pump Station in Springdale. At approximately 10:40 a.m., the victim, a male subject, called the Springdale Police Department and stated that he had been in that area to meet a friend, identified as Valdez, to discuss a date the two had on March 27.
He said that instead of talking to her, she and Magana met the victim in the park and Magana “began shooting at the victim.” Officers went to the location of the alleged shooting and collected a total of ten spent shell casings from the parking lot, then later observed ten bullet holes in the victim’s vehicle, with “at least four bullet holes directly into the driver’s side door.”
On August 29, Judge Robin F. Green ordered that Valdez undergo forensic examinations to determine her fitness to proceed and her criminal responsibility. Court documents show that those evaluations were conducted on October 26.
In a pretrial hearing held on December 5, Judge Green approved the change in counsel for Valdez and scheduled a Mental Status Hearing for January 5, 2023.