Murder trial date to be set today for man charged with shooting co-worker at Elizabethtown KFC-Taco Bell in February

The latest crime news across the world of 48,000 restaurants*.

Crime scene tapeA judge ruled yesterday that Joshua Ratliff, 27, was competent to stand trial on charges of murder, wanton endangerment of a police officer, and evading police, according to WLKY-TV.

Investigators say Ratliff shot 22-year-old Ryan Birse multiple times last February at the combination KFC-Taco Bell restaurant and then led police on a short pursuit, the station said. A witness had WLKY that Ratliff walked out the door with a gun at his side.

Joshua Ratliff

Despite having a relatively high IQ of 110, the defense argued Ratliff had a history of psychiatric problems and wouldn’t be able to participate in his own defense. The judge disagreed, however, saying Ratliff had the capacity to participate rationally in his own defense.

A defense psychiatrist had testified at an earlier hearing about Ratliff’s mental state. “He had delusions that his parents were trying to poison him, delusions that someone had taken on his mother’s identity,” psychiatrist Douglas Ruth said.

Ratliff’s expected trial date comes after an especially grim period of murders at fast-food chains owned by Louisville companies. Sunday in Lorain, Ohio, a man was killed in an apparent robbery attempt in a Taco Bell drive-thru around 11 p.m. Details were scarce, and an Internet search this morning didn’t turn up any fresh news.

Also Sunday, in Fort Wayne, a 28-year-old man was killed and another man was injured during a shooting outside a Texas Roadhouse in Fort Wayne. Police and court records said the man killed had gotten into a fight with members of a motorcycle gang he once belonged to. A suspect has been arrested and charged with murder in the case.

Video emerges in Roadhouse case

A witness, who asked to remain anonymous, said the victim, Jeff Lute, had been harassed by members of the bike gang for months amid a feud that apparently started months ago when Lute decided to quit the gang, WISH-TV said today.

The witness told the station members of the group weren’t going to let him go easy; they threatened Lute’s life and slashed his tires. Lute had filed multiple police reports since January, he said.

WISH obtained home surveillance video of someone slashing Lute’s tires that the station published its story this morning.

* Yum has 43,000 KFCs, Pizza Huts and Taco Bells in nearly 140 countries; Papa John’s has 4,900 outlets in 37 countries, and Texas Roadhouse has 485 restaurants across the U.S. and in five other nations. With that many locations, crimes inevitably occur — with potentially serious legal consequences for the companies.

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