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Three years after Waffle House shooting, still no trial for suspect

Series of circumstances have delayed plans for trial
AM Nick Reinking Trial What's Next VO_frame_219.jpeg
Posted at 2:06 PM, Apr 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 21:18:14-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — It's been three years and the suspected gunman in the Waffle House shooting still appears to be no closer to standing trial. So, what is the current status of Travis Reinking?

In fairness, the pandemic did set back all criminal trials. But there are other reasons why there is still no date for a trial.

Waffle House shooting 3 years later: Timeline of Travis Reinking case

Reinking remains locked up and waiting. The now 32-year-old is accused of a mass shooting killing four young people -- DeEbony Groves, Akilah Dasilva, Joe Perez, and Taurean Sanderlin -- at a Waffle House in Antioch.

Remember, Reinking was diagnosed with schizophrenia and deemed incompetent to stand trial. He spent six months at a facility for treatment.

"There's a thing called restoration of competency. It means trying to restore you to a level where you can be tried," said Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall at the time in 2018.

Reinking's now deemed fit to stand trial and is held without bond at the new downtown jail. He is alone in his cell -- allowed two hours out a day.

He's had no discipline issues and sees a variety of visitors, mostly family and lawyers.

Not long after his arrest, Reinking called me (NewsChannel 5's Nick Beres) wanting to talk.

"About what I'm thinking and what I'd like to say on my behalf and stuff like that," said Reinking by phone from his cell.

I asked him about his mental fitness.

"Yeah, no... I'm perfectly healthy."

And, at the time, Reinking told me he wanted to represent himself at trial.

"That's the thing... I'm chosing to represent myself. I don't know how that works. I didn't like those attorneys."

Of course, he now has a team of new defense attorneys.

The Deputy DA says he's waiting for them to suggest a suitable date for trial.

When a trial does happen, a likely defense will be Reinking's sanity, but how do you argue that if he's deemed fit to stand trial?

"What the lawyers will probably argue is that while he's okay now with medication and therapy, he wasn't at the time of the crime. Therefore he was insane at that moment," said legal expert and attorney David Raybin, who is not associated with the case.

A gag order remains in place, but sources have indicated that a trial could happen before the end of the year.

Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty in this case. The insanity plea is a very difficult case to make. But even if Reinking was found not guilty by reason of insanity, he would not be set free. He'd be sent to a secure mental facility.