Competency hearing set for teenager in deadly DUI hit-and-run case

CREATED Feb. 2, 2012 - UPDATED: Feb. 2, 2012

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  • Nick Montes reports from the Milwaukee County Courthouse. Video by wtmj.com

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MILWAUKEE - A judge set a competency hearing for a teenager from Milwaukee who faces accusations of driving drunk in a stolen car, causing a crash that killed a couple from New Berlin, and fleeing the scene.

Kelly Duke's attorney says he may not be competent to stand trial for the deadly crash that took the lives of Ed and Jean Thaves on New Year's Day.

Duke, 17, appeared in court for a bond hearing Thursday morning.

He has been accused of causing the crash, which happened at the corner of North 27th Street and West St. Paul Avenue.

If convicted on all nine counts, including seven felonies - four of which involve homicide - he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

"You're facing, from my calculation, 157 1/2 years.  These are extremely strong cases for the state.  There's an alleged confession by you," said a court commissioner at a previous court hearing.

"It's disturbing that someone lacked even the humanity to check to see whether two people had survived," said Edwin Thaves, the victims' son.

"If we want to prevent this from happening again, and prevent other families from going through what I'm going through, here's where we have to take a stand."

Edwin's mother and father were heading home from Potawatomi Casino and stopped at a red light.

That's when, police say, Duke plowed into them.

Duke later told police he was headed to see his girlfriend who works at Potawatomi Bingo Casino.

The Thaves family started a petition with more than 140 signatures to keep Duke behind bars.

"When you're facing 157 years in (prison) and you've already run away from the scene of a crime, you're likely going to run away again, and we just can't have that happen," explained Thaves.

"The details of the crash are just so horrific.  It's hard to put it out of my mind."