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Jailhouse phone recordings to be used in Ferguson competency hearing

Jailhouse phone recordings to be used in Ferguson competency hearing
Posted at 6:07 PM, Jul 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-19 00:25:26-04

After several hearings failed to determine whether Billy Ferguson — the man accused of murder in a Calallen Walmart — is competent to stand trial; the family of Gabe Cooley — the teenager he allegedly stabbed to death — is hopeful a new hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning will do the trick.

"We keep having the same statements from both sides, but nothing was getting us any traction," mother Amy Cooley said. "But today, we finally caught some traction."

That traction comes in the form of phone call recordings from the Nueces County Jail, in which prosecutors say Ferguson allegedly admits to family and friends that he committed the crime in August 2020 and has been trying to stall the legal proceedings against him ever since.

Those recordings will be played at Wednesday's hearing, and Amy hopes they'll convince 28th District Court Judge Nanette Hasette to proclaim Ferguson as competent to stand trial.

"We’re going to show he’s competent by his own words," she said. "That’s really vindicating for our side. I think that’s why we have a smile on our face."

They're smiling now, but the jailhouse phone call recordings could include disturbing statements about their loved one's death.

It's something Amy and her daughter, Gabe's older sister Kathleen Cooley, are preparing for so the wheels of justice can propel Gabe's case forward.

"Reliving it is a horrible dream that you keep having every night, but we have to do it," Kathleen said. "We have to get it done. I think it will really help our case. I think it will help move things along. So it’s exciting in that sense, but yeah, it’s going to be really tough.”