A Belpre teenager accused of breaking into the home of his 22-year-old neighbor and stabbing her was found competent to stand trial Monday afternoon.
John Paul Lee, 16, of 816 Westview Drive, Belpre, was 15 at the time of the July 9 incident, and in November 2011 it was ruled he would be tried as an adult.
Lee, who faces a charge of attempted murder, appeared before Washington County Common Pleas Judge Susan Boyer Monday, who ruled that despite clear mental issues he was legally competent for trial.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Belpre resident John Paul Lee is escorted from the courtroom Monday afternoon following a competency hearing. Lee was found competent to stand trial.
"Based on the report, the court finds this defendant is competent to stand trial," Boyer said.
The jury trial in the case has now been set for June 11 at 9 a.m. in Boyer's courtroom. Lee faces a maximum prison sentence of 23 years on the attempted murder charge.
The competency evaluation, which was performed by licensed clinical psychologist Denise Kohler, found significant history of mental difficulties with Lee, but also found he understood the charges against him and the actions he is accused of.
On July 9, 2011 John Paul Lee, 15, of 816 Westview Drive, Belpre allegedly broke into the home of a 22-year-old neighbor and stabbed her.
In 2007, Lee was charged in Washington County Juvenile Court with rape, which was amended to gross sexual imposition.
Because of the prior conviction, prosecutors could file to charge Lee as an adult.
In November 2011, a hearing determined that Lee would be tried as an adult.
On Monday, Lee was found competent to stand trial.
Source: Washington County Prosecutor's Office.
"He does appear to have a behavioral disorder," Boyer read.
During the evaluation, which took place March 23, Kohler studied Lee's past medical and emotional history.
According to the findings of the report, which were read during the hearing, Lee had good concentration and little ability to be distracted, but described suicidal thoughts. He was previously overwhelmed with stress, which resulted in an intentional substance overdose, Boyer read.
Lee also has a history of physical confrontations with his family as well as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). He was able to describe appropriate courtroom behavior and has a history of substance abuse.
The substance abuse complicated his mental illness, the report found.
Despite the ruling of his mental condition, the evaluation found sufficient cause to send the case to trial.
"The evaluation found that he suffers from a severe mental illness, although it also found he's mentally competent," said Lee's attorney, Rolf Baumgartel.
On July 9, 2011, Lee is accused of breaking into the home of his neighbor and her 3-year-old son. Prosecutors have said rape was the probable motive and Lee reportedly told police he had dreamed about killing the woman.
The victim in the case was ordered not to be identified by Washington County Juvenile Judge Timothy Williams in the November hearing.
The woman woke up to the sound of someone in her home and upon going into the hallway was confronted. She suffered stab wounds to her face, arm and back but was not critically injured, police said.
"A very unfortunate set of circumstances ... a very distraught victim," said Assistant Washington County Prosecutor Ray Dugger.
In 2007, when he was 11 years old, Lee was charged with rape, which was later reduced to gross sexual imposition to which he was found delinquent.
That charge was the basis on which a motion was filed to try Lee as an adult.
By law, if a child is charged with a felony and is at least 14 years of age they can be tried as an adult if probable cause exists to indicate the child committed the alleged offense, they cannot be rehabilitated in the juvenile system and the safety of the community may require adult sanctions.