Competency exam ordered for teen accused of shooting man in the back of the head
Two teens accused in a drug-related shooting at a Pittsfield Township apartment complex earlier this year appeared in the Washtenaw County Trial Court Thursday.
Charles Johnson, 16, was ordered to undergo a competency examination to see if he was criminally responsible when he allegedly shot a man in the head in January.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The defense claimed Johnson might not be competent to stand trial.
“He’s had psychiatric problems since he was 4 years old,” Killewald said. “The more time I spend with my client, the more I realize he doesn’t understand the gravity of the situation. My client has trouble controlling himself.”
What Killewald told the court echoes what Johnson’s father told AnnArbor.com at the time of arraignment in January. Johnson’s father said his son, who attended Huron High School, has struggled with bi-polar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and has had numerous run-ins with the law before the shooting.
Assistant Washtenaw County Prosecutor Sam Holtz wanted to make sure the examination would address not just whether Johnson is competent to stand trial, but whether he was criminally responsible at the time of the shooting. Swartz said the exam will deal with both issues.
The court set a hearing for Sept. 13 to review the results of the examination.
The exam motion was granted after Swartz denied the defense’s motion that argued the case should not have been bound over to the circuit court from district court to begin with because there was insufficient evidence.
“There has to be evidence to bind people over,” Killewald said. “The only evidence the prosecution offered were two snitches.”
The judge stood by the district court’s decision that there was probable cause. Swartz also denied a motion to dismiss one of the charges against Johnson’s co-defendant, 20-year-old Steven Hall of Ypsilanti, who also appeared in court for a pretrial hearing Thursday.
Hall is charged with armed robbery, assault with intent to rob and felony firearm. The motion attempted to dismiss the assault with intent to rob charge.
“Mr. Johnson went out into the hallway to take matters into his own hands,” said Hall’s attorney, Roland Sizemore, arguing that Johnson was the main culprit in the alleged robbery, not his client.
Swartz said there was probable cause found for the charge in the district court and denied the motion.
Johnson has been charged with armed robbery, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to rob and felony firearms.
Johnson and Hall were given a final pretrial hearing dates of Oct. 11. and a jury trial date of Oct. 22. Farai Munetsi, the third defendant charged in the incident, is scheduled to be sentenced at 1:30 p.m. Thursday in Swartz's courtroom. Munetsi, 17, was charged with armed robbery and is currently lodged in the Washtenaw County Jail.
The three were arrested after a 33-year-old Ypsilanti man was shot once outside a door to a building in the northeast area of Lexington Club at Ann Arbor apartments on Jan. 19. Police believe the shooting was drug-related.
Hall remains lodged in the Washtenaw County Jail. Johnson is currently being held at a juvenile detention center in Macomb County.