Accused Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking's case is moving forward, as he has been ruled competent by the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute to stand trial.

Travis Reinking in court - 8/22/18

Travis Reinking appeared in court on Aug. 22. (WSMV)

Reinking's case was stalled due to a previous ruling by a judge and mental evaluation that stated he was incompetent to stand trial due to schizophrenia.

The district attorney's office informed the victims' families on Monday. Reinking waived his right to appear in a preliminary hearing.

Clinical psychologist Dr. Leigh Van Horn of Athena Consulting has tested at least 10 accused criminals for mental competency. She tells News4 it's typically a four-step process. 

The accused criminal first has a clinical review, which is a detailed analysis and goes over everything from mental health history, medical history, current symptoms, and alcohol and drug use.

The second step is an IQ test.

"We may tell them make your blocks look like my blocks, remember this string of numbers, what does this work mean, how are these two words similar," said Van Horn.

The third step is a psychological test. 

"We would want to make sure the person was based in reality, that they weren't having any hallucinations or delusions, any paranoia that may have caused them to commit this crime or essentially would have prevented them from participating meaningfully in their defense," said Van Horn. 

The final step is called a malingering test, which determines if someone is faking. 

"It's not easy to fake it at all," said Van Horn. "They would be looking at whether or not this person is particularly defensive, you know, meaning not wanting to admit to some psychological difficulties that they are having or even minor things that most of us would admit to."

The mental competency exams typically take at least 10 hours and can often take several days. Some of the tests have as many as 600 questions. In high-profile cases, there can be several rounds of testing in order to get multiple expert opinions. 

Reinking's case will be presented to the grand jury soon, a set date has not yet been given.

He is accused of killing four people and injuring several others in the shooting at an Antioch Waffle House restaurant back in April. He is charged with four counts of criminal homicide, four counts of attempted murder and one count of unlawful gun possession in the commission of a violent felony.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to News4 for updates.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

WSMV Digital Content Producer

Joey is an award-winning Digital Content Producer who joined WSMV in September 2018.


Kim St. Onge joined the News4 team as a reporter in January 2017.

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