Man charged with running over, killing cop ruled mentally fit for trial

CONWAY (KATV) -- A Faulkner County judge ruled Monday that the man accused of running over and killing a Conway Police officer is fit to stand trial.

On January 31 of 2013, Conway Police officer William McGary was directing traffic on a busy Dave Ward Drive, when he was hit by a car. McGary later died from his injuries.

Barry Strickland, 31, is charged with first-degree battery for being the man behind the wheel of the vehicle that killed McGary.

Monday Strickland's attorney said there's more to the story that will come to light during the trial, which is set to begin on December 2.

Only Channel Seven's camera was rolling today when Strickland left the Faulkner County Courthouse. His next scheduled appearance will be for trial.

"The hearing today was concerning the report on his fitness to proceed," said Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney, Cody Hiland. "The report has found that he was fit to proceed. We presented that to the judge and the judge set a trial date for on December 2 for four days."

For the trial later this year Strickland's attorney, Frank Shaw of Conway, said he plans to clear the air about some false advertising in the case.

"After a year of discovering research it has become clear to me that at the time the officer was struck he did not have on a fluorescent vest, (and) that Mr. Strickland was not driving while intoxicated," Shaw said.

Shaw added that Strickland left work early on that January day because he hadn't slept in days, something he suffered from as part of his diagnosed post traumatic stress syndrome.

"While at the time he was on his prescription medication because he is a two-time Iraq veteran who went to war, and unfortunately brought the war home with him," Shaw added.

Additional motions in the trial will be visited at an August 12 pre-trial hearing.

Since the crime came against a police officer, Strickland's first degree battery charge has been upgraded to a class Y felony.

If convicted he's facing 10 to 40 years in prison.