Man charged in 2013 killings of wife and son in South Huntsville returned to Madison County from state mental hospital

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- More than five years after Stephen Marc Stone was charged with killing his wife and their 7-year-old son in south Huntsville, he could be approaching a trial date.

The killings of Krista Stone and Zachary Stone shocked neighbors and friends.

The mystery wasn’t in who killed them – Stone told police he strangled his wife and son at the family’s home after he returned from a long day of driving around the state of Alabama.

How does a father of three kill his wife and son, spare his two daughters and then turn himself in?

Stone’s court appearances and his legal team suggested he was suffering from mental illness.

Last May, Madison County Circuit Judge Donna Pate ruled Stone – at that point – was not competent to stand trial. She ordered him to the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility in Tuscaloosa for treatment, aimed at making him competent.

Now, Stone’s back in Madison County. Pate issued orders this week directing that he be transported from the hospital to the Madison County Jail.

His return means it’s likely that he will soon face a competency hearing. A date has not been set as of Friday afternoon to determine if he understands the court proceedings and can assist in his own defense.

If so, a trial date will be set.

And prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The court has said it has received Stone’s mental evaluation from the state’s Taylor Hardin hospital in Tuscaloosa. The judge’s order this week directs that Madison County Jail staff and affiliated mental health personnel continue Stone’s medication.