by: Ken Lemon Updated:
GASTON COUNTY, N.C. - There's been a delay in an 89-year-old man's murder trial.
Charles Venn is accused of shooting and killing his 80-year-old girlfriend on Mother's Day but attorneys said he's in the early stages of dementia and may not be competent to stand trial.
The victim's daughter said she doesn't want him to spend his final days in prison.
"I was all ready for the trial to start and be over with," Leanne Catoe said.
She said she was she mentally ready to sit through the trial of her mother's accused killer while wearing a locket containing some of Vivian Shronce's ashes.
But the trial was delayed after the suspect Charles Venn started showing signs of dementia.
The judge wants to make sure he is competent to stand trial.
"He knows she is gone,” Catoe said. “He knows that he did it but he couldn't tell you how he did it."
She said the two lived together and loved each other.
Police said they had an argument when Venn shot and killed Schronce.
Catoe said Venn doesn't remember what caused the argument.
“It drives me nuts that I don't know," Catoe said.
She said he had other memory problems that got worse when he got out of jail on bond a few months ago, then moved back into the home near McAdenville where the two lived.
"To me, that's worse that any prison,” Catoe said. “He is living in his own hell."
She doesn't think he should have to stand trial.
Last year, she cried as she told a judge her mother would have forgiven him.
"I don't think she would want Charles to go to jail," Catoe said.
She understands there are other family members of Schronce who are angry at Venn.
They want to see him tried and spend the rest of his life in prison.
Venn's neighbors also say he shouldn't go to prison considering his current mental state.
Some think he may soon have to answer to God for what's happened.
"Let the jury up in heaven decide," said neighbor Laura Smith.
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