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Medical evaluation asked for man convicted of sex assault

December 02, 2003|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A remark made by a bailiff that a man recently convicted of second-degree sexual assault was an exceptionally quiet prisoner has prompted the man's attorneys to ask that he undergo a mental health evaluation.

Jurors found Jason Lee Caton, 23, of Martinsburg, guilty last month of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in February, 2002.

Caton's attorney, William DeHaven, said Monday in Berkeley County Circuit Court that he noticed that Caton is quiet, but never thought anything of it until a bailiff said during Caton's trial that Caton was the quietest prisoner he'd ever seen.

DeHaven asked that Caton be sent to Huttonsville Correctional Center for a 60-day evaluation. Huttonsville, which is near Elkins, W.Va., is where felons who have been convicted, but not yet sentenced, are sent for an evaluation.

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Caton has never been evaluated, DeHaven said.

"During the trial he sat motionless and expressionless during the entire episode," DeHaven told Circuit Judge David Sanders during a brief hearing.

"You fear he may be pathologically quiet?" Sanders asked.

DeHaven replied that he does and said the evaluation could cast doubt on whether Caton should be held criminally responsible for his actions. He added that the evaluation could affect Caton's sentencing.

Caton is scheduled to stand trial on charges related to two additional sexual assaults, including one in which a 12-year-old girl said she was raped on Aug. 30, 2001. That trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 22.

Sanders said he does not oppose the mental health evaluation provided Caton is able to return by the trial date.

Caton also faces charges in connection with an April 20, 2002, incident in which a woman in her early 20s said she was forced to perform sexual acts. Trial dates have not been set in that case.

Caton's DNA was found on evidence connected to all three young women, according to testimony during the trial.

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