The opinion of the court was delivered by This is a direct appeal by Michael White from his conviction of first-degree premeditated murder. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for 40 years (hard 40). White appeals, claiming evidence of gruesome photographs and that he had battered his girlfriend was improperly admitted into trial, the evidence admitted to prove first-degree premeditated murder and to support the hard 40 sentence was insufficient, and cumulative error requires reversal of his conviction. White also contends that the State erred by failing to comply with the mandatory notice provisions of K.S.A. 1993 Supp. 21-4624(1) and erred by not holding a competency hearing prior to sentencing.