Double murder defendant returning to Cullman for competency hearing

Sara Tapia-Franco. (Cullman County Sheriff’s Office)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Double murder defendant Sara Tapia-Franco, 34, of Holly Pond, this week was ordered to be transferred from state mental health facility Bryce Hospital to the Cullman County Detention Center for an upcoming competency hearing. Tapia-Franco was indicted in 2020 on capital murder charges in the deaths of her two young sons, 3-year-old Alvaro Garcia and 9-year-old Taylor Garcia, on Oct. 12, 2019 at the family home between Holly Pond and Baileyton. 

Tapia-Franco was previously ordered to undergo a mental evaluation. Under the Alabama Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 11, “A defendant is mentally incompetent to stand trial or to be sentenced for an offense if that defendant lacks sufficient present ability to assist in his or her defense by consulting with counsel with a reasonable degree of rational understanding of the facts and the legal proceedings against the defendant.”

The Cullman County Sheriff’s Office will arrange for her transportation and maintain her use of prescribed medications, as well as arranging follow-up care through a local facility or personnel in Cullman.

Tapia faces two counts of capital murder and one count of capital murder of two or more persons. Capital offenses in Alabama carry a punishment of either the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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W.C. Mann