Michael Zarate, the Brownwood man accused of murder in the November 2014 shooting death of Ernesto Gonzales Jr. and  earlier found incompetent to stand trial, has now been found competent.
    35th District Judge Steve Ellis ruled Tuesday that Zarate, 33, is competent and set a Sept. 11 trial date. Ellis made the ruling after reviewing psychiatric reports on Zarate.
    Ellis signed an incompetency judgment 10 months ago after reviewing a report by Dr. Harold Scott, a court-appointed psychiatrist who evaluated Zarate. Ellis ordered Zarate confined to the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon for a maximum of 120 days "for further examination and treatment toward the specific objective of attaining competency to stand trial."
    Zarate has indicated he wants a new lawyer. Jud Woodley of Comanche has been Zarate’s lawyer since May 2015, but Woodley has sought to withdraw from the case.
    Ellis said Tuesday he won’t allow Woodley to withdraw until Zarate has a new lawyer.
    References were made in court that Zarate has claimed Woodley tried to poison him.
    Zarate was also unhappy with his first lawyer, Charles King.
     Zarate is accused of shooting and killing Ernesto Gonzales Jr., 34, on Nov. 2, 2014. Gonzales was shot in an alley in the 1300 block of Brady Avenue in Brownwood, police said earlier.
    Zarate was already in jail after a deputy arrested him on bond withdrawal warrants for aggravated sexual assault of a child and indecency with a child, when police served him with additional warrants for murder and evidence tampering in connection with Gonzales’ death, authorities have said.
    The day of the shooting, police were called at 4:13 p.m. to the 1300 block of Brady Avenue in reference to a man who had been shot, according to a complaint filed in Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jim Cavanaugh's office. Officers located Gonzales lying dead in the alley.
    Witnesses told police Zarate and Gonzales had a "verbal altercation" before the shooting and that Zarate chased Gonzales, police said.