One of the defendants allegedly involved in the death of a 15-year-old Belleview, Florida teen is allegedly incompetent to stand trial.
The 38-year-old man’s lawyer supposedly told a judge in a brief pre-trial conference on Wednesday that a psychiatrist asserts the man is unfit to stand trial for the charges of accessory to first-degree murder.
He is accused of helping dispose of the body and enabling one of the suspects to evade arrest by driving him to Starke.
The teenager was allegedly murdered in April by a group of young people ranging in age from 15 to 20.
The lawyer supposedly would not disclose the nature of the man’s condition.
The judge reportedly asked prosecutors to schedule a competency hearing, according to the Ocala Star Banner. After the hearing the judge will decide whether the man is actually unfit or fully competent to face a trial.
It is unknown when the competency hearing will take place.
The accused is currently free on bond.
Criminal behavior has been found to have a direct link to psychological, psychiatric, or mental health in some cases. Defendants with such illnesses or issues must receive specialized attention because their needs can often go undetected in a legal system run by police, prosecutors and judges who are not equipped with the knowledge needed to detect their disorders.
Within the last decade, mental illness has become widely recognized as a gateway to criminal behavior. While the criminal justice system can be intimidating for a defendant who does not have mental issues, a criminal defendant with a mental illness can find the system practically unmanageable unless they have guidance of legal counsel who can understand and display to the court their unique position.
At Whittel & Melton we work with psychiatrists, substance abuse specialists, psychologists and other mental health experts so that we can assist with any special needs you and your loved ones may have. By working with trained professionals, our attorneys can pinpoint any underlying health issues and establish the best method to settle a criminal matter. We can help condense possible exposure to criminal consequences by addressing special circumstances. We seek a long-term solution that will benefit the accused as opposed to a quick fix solution implemented by the prosecution that may actually hinder behavioral health progress.
If you, a friend or family member is accused of committing a crime anywhere in the state of Florida that you believe can be traced to a psychological, psychiatric, or mental health disorder, contact the Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at the Law Offices of Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call our Ocala office at 352-369-5334 or reach us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).