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Competency hearing ordered for man charged in death of Howell High School graduate

The man charged with killing a Howell High School graduate will undergo a psychological exam.

James Lee Trussell, 19, was charged with open murder in the July 4th stabbing death of 22-year-old Ari Clarke in Ypsilanti. Court records show Trussell was referred by a Washtenaw County district court judge on August 24th for a competency evaluation, with a follow-up hearing set for October 19th.

Ari Clark

Clarke, an artist and musician who released music under the name “Young Rilla,” was born in Florida, but graduated from Howell High School in 2018, according to an obituary published by Sharp Funeral Homes.

According to testimony at a previous hearing, the stabbing occurred after an argument between Trussell and Clarke. MLive reported that Patricia Reiser, an attorney with the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, said Trussell thought Clarke was looking at his girlfriend, calling it “something incredibly stupid.” There was no indication that stabbing was in self-defense.

Trussell, of Ann Arbor, remains held in the Washtenaw County Jail without bond.

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Hartland Art Walk runs through Oct. 7

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