Prosecutor: Cobb man accused of killing father competent to stand trial

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

Credit: Cobb County Sheriff's Office

A Cobb County man accused of killing his father after being told he had to get a job or move out has been deemed competent by state psychologists, prosecutors said Monday.

Daniel Walden Attaway, now 26, was charged with murder in 2018 after authorities said he shot his father “execution style” in the basement of their Marietta home.

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Investigators believe Attaway got angry after being given the ultimatum and killed his father with a 9mm handgun from the family collection. Douglas Wayne Attaway, a 59-year-old construction executive, was shot “between his eyes” and “close to his forehead,” warrants allege.

The gun used in the shooting was discovered two days later near a creek bed about 100 yards from the family’s Hardage Farm Drive home, a Marietta detective testified previously.

Daniel Attaway initially called 911 and said he found his father shot to death inside their home, police said.

“I don’t know who did this, ma’am,” he told the 911 dispatcher. “Somebody has entered my house when I was away and they shot my father. He is dead.”

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After a few days, however, investigators said they developed “sufficient evidence” to charge him with his father’s murder. That evidence included gunshot residue that was discovered on the younger Attaway as well as a confession he reportedly made to family members, authorities said.

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Police also said the suspected murder weapon was the only firearm missing from the family’s gun collection when investigators searched the home. The gun had been purchased by Douglas Attaway, but his son’s name also appeared on the receipt, Marietta detective David Sheffield testified at a 2018 hearing.

After the shooting, Daniel Attaway reportedly confessed to his mother and sister that he was the one who killed his dad.

“Prior to turning himself in, he sat them down and told them that he did it,” Sheffield said at the time. He said the then-24-year-old was apologetic and told his family he had been “battling some demons” for a long time.

Attaway was previously declared mentally incompetent, but state psychologists have since determined that he is fit to stand trial, Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Jesse Evans said during Monday’s status hearing.

“He had been deemed incompetent for a period of time. Competency has now been restored,” Evans said. “... From the state’s doctors’ perspective, they don’t believe that criminal responsibility is an issue for the defendant. They think he’s legally sane.”

Defense attorney Mazi Mazloom said Attaway was recently moved from the Cobb County Jail to a Decatur hospital to undergo the psychological evaluations. The results of the state’s most recent evaluation was submitted to the court April 12, but those records remain sealed.

Mazloom said a private expert who previously determined Attaway was insane at the time of the shooting will review the state’s findings.

“Competency is always fluid, so he could come and go depending on if he keeps up with his medication and doesn’t have any bad reactions,” he said after Monday’s hearing.

A trial has not been scheduled in the case.