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Suspect in slaying of Kilgore adult video store clerk ruled competent to stand trial

By Richard Yeakley
Feb. 20, 2013 at 11 p.m.

A Kilgore woman charged with murder has been found competent to stand trial.

Samantha Lara, charged in the January 2011 shooting death of an adult video store clerk, was examined by psychologist Thomas Allen as the request of a court order.

The order was filed Aug. 6, and the evaluation was completed the next day, but it was not returned to the district clerk's office until Tuesday after media inquiries about the status of the evaluation.

The body of Renee Garrett was found after a robbery early Jan. 10, 2011, at Adult Video and DVD in Kilgore.

Lara was arrested in February 2012, days after a Gregg County grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging her with murder and aggravated robbery.

Lara has had multiple status hearings, but a trial date has not been set, and no plea agreement has been reached, court records show.

She remained held Wednesday in the Gregg County Jail under $500,000 bond.

At the time of Lara's arrest, Kilgore police investigators indicated more arrests were anticipated in connection with the slaying.

At the time, they said DNA evidence taken from the scene had confirmed the identity of one of three suspects, presumably Lara. Video surveillance footage showed more than one person was in the store at the time of the shooting and robbery.



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