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Boy charged with rape not competent for trial

June 05, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

A 15-year-old city boy charged in connection with the pregnancy of a 10-year-old city girl was found not competent to stand trial Wednesday, but a psychologist who examined him said he might be able to stand trial by late summer.

After the psychologist's testimony, Washington County Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley, sitting in Juvenile Court, ordered a second evaluation of the boy to be complete by Aug. 31.

The boy was charged in early April with second-degree rape, second-degree assault and fourth-degree sex offense.

Hagerstown City Police leveled charges against the boy after officers were called April 1 to a West End home in which the girl, who was 10 at the time, had miscarried what was believed to be a 4-month-old fetus.

The boy sat quietly in a juvenile court hearing Wednesday as lawyers questioned psychologist Laura Estupinan-Kane about her April 18 evaluation of the boy.

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Estupinan-Kane said she interviewed the boy for about two hours that day and performed tests. She said he seemed to understand some basic concepts about the judicial system but he did not express that he could grasp more difficult concepts such as the meaning of a plea bargain, or how he could assist himself or his attorney, leading to her finding that he was not competent to stand trial.

The boy, whose IQ was estimated at 68 - within the range for mild mental retardation - might be competent to stand trial if experts spent time over the next several months preparing him, Estupinan-Kane said.

Beachley said he was convinced he should allow the delay.

"With a fair amount of school and education, he can be rendered competent to stand trial," Beachley said. The Department of Juvenile Justice will coordinate the boy's competency preparation.

Beachley allowed the boy to stay at his grandmother's house until the evaluation is complete provided he has round-the-clock adult supervision and no contact with the victim, any females younger than 18 or males younger than 12.

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