Tacoma

Judge rules teenager mentally fit to stand trial in series of sexual attacks

Staff writerMarch 26, 2014 

Andrake Morris

KIRO-TV

A 19-year-old man charged in a series of Tacoma sexual assaults is mentally competent to assist in his defense and might have been faking his psychiatric symptoms all along, recently filed court documents state.

Pierce County Judge Edmund Murphy signed an order last week declaring Andrake Morris competent to stand trial on 12 felony counts, including first-degree robbery, attempted first-degree rape, indecent liberties and attempted second-degree kidnapping.

Prosecutors say Morris attacked five women over the course of a year, including the beating and attempted sexual assault of a day care worker in March 2013. Investigators say he went to the Tender Hearts day care before it opened, talked his way inside and then attacked the woman working there.

Morris has pleaded not guilty and is being held in jail in lieu of $2 million bail.

A judge found Morris incompetent to stand trial last year and ordered him to Western State Hospital for treatment. The process did not begin until Nov. 1 because of a logistical mix-up, and Morris further complicated matters by refusing to take his medicine.

Murphy signed an order earlier this year allowing Western State doctors to forcibly inject Morris with anti-psychotic drugs in an effort to get the defendant to a stable mental state where he might be able to assist his defense attorney with his case.

But a report recently filed by doctors at the state psychiatric hospital indicates Morris might not be mentally ill at all.

The “forensic mental health status report” submitted by three mental-health experts March 19 shows they think Morris has been faking  his symptoms, including hearing voices.

Recent testing and evaluations of his medical history “suggest that Mr. Morris’ claimed psychiatric symptoms are less than credible, and he appears to be largely exaggerating or feigning his claimed symptoms,” the report shows.

The report went on to say there is no reason Morris could not assist in his defense.

“We therefore recommend that he return to court to resume adjudication of his pending criminal matters,” the report shows.

Morris has a hearing Friday to set a trial date.

 

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