SALT LAKE CITY — Conflicting reports from two mental health evaluators have delayed the case of a West Valley man accused of attacking a 6-year-old neighbor girl.
The man, who was 17 at the time of the alleged attack and now is 18, appeared Monday before 3rd District Juvenile Judge Dane Nolan. Defense attorney Raymond Shuey told Nolan he had received the second competency report on his client during a lunch break Monday and hadn't had time to fully study the report.
Shuey indicated that the second report determined that his client was able to understand the charges against him and assist in his own defense. He said that assessment contradicted the first evaluator's opinion about his client's competency.
Shuey and prosecutor Matthew Janzen each asked Nolan for up to two months to review the second report, and possibly seek a third evaluation for the man. But Nolan reiterated a concern he voiced during a Jan. 25 hearing where he ordered the first two reviews.
"I'm not going to give that much time," Nolan said, pointing out the amount of time the man has spent in detention and the toll the case has taken on the man, his alleged victim, her family and his family.
"We're going to have to move this along," Nolan said.
The man is charged with aggravated kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse and two counts of sodomy on a child, all first-degree felonies; and aggravated assault, a second-degree felony.
He was first praised for finding and getting help for the girl, who was discovered unconscious and bleeding in a driveway on Sept. 11, 2009. However, police said a different picture emerged after they questioned the teen and the girl.
The girl had been walking from her home to a friend's house, which is about half a block away. When she got there, the teenager, who had been mowing the lawn at his house, said the girl's friend was in the teen's backyard, court documents state.
The girl went into the yard and the teenager "pushed her to the ground and choked her because he 'wanted her to sleep or something,' " according to the documents.
Police say the boy continued to choke the girl until she passed out, although she fought him by scratching his face and neck and then he sexually assaulted her. Later, he allegedly "threw" the girl over a fence. Police said he did not think she was breathing when he threw her.
The teen then got help from his sister and a neighbor and told them he had just discovered the child.
Nolan has scheduled a 11/2 day evidentiary hearing for April 29-30 to hear testimony from the two evaluators who have already prepared reports. He also gave the defense and prosecution one week to decide if they want a third expert to evaluate the man's competency.
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