Northeast Times

Defendant in assault must have mental-health tests

A judge or­ders the eval­u­ation as part of on­go­ing ef­forts to de­term­ine wheth­er Shawn Aiken is com­pet­ent to stand tri­al on charges re­lated to the March 2010 at­tack.

A man ac­cused of beat­ing and sexu­ally as­sault­ing an­oth­er man with a broom handle in Frank­ford in 2010 has been ordered com­mit­ted for two months to the Phil­adelphia De­ten­tion Cen­ter’s forensic unit un­der the state’s men­tal health laws.

Fur­ther, Com­mon Pleas Judge Sheila Woods-Skip­per ordered on Aug. 11, Shawn Aiken will be held for 60 more days in Nor­ris­town State Hos­pit­al if he is found to be in­com­pet­ent to stand tri­al.

Aiken has been in cus­tody since he was ar­res­ted March 17, 2010. 

Po­lice had charged Aiken, 22, his teen­age broth­er Har­old, and Ren­ada Wil­li­ams, 30, with beat­ing a 29-year-old Ox­ford Circle man for sev­er­al hours on March 14 and 15, 2010. The de­fend­ants ini­tially faced al­most 30 charges, in­clud­ing ag­grav­ated as­sault, crim­in­al con­spir­acy and sexu­al as­sault.

Dur­ing a May 2010 pre­lim­in­ary hear­ing, the vic­tim said he had gone to a house at Church and Penn streets to see Wil­li­ams and that he was na­ked and hav­ing sex with her when Har­old Aiken, then 16, knocked on the door. When he came in, he asked the vic­tim if he had been rap­ing Wil­li­ams be­fore he began beat­ing him, the vic­tim said, adding that Shawn Aiken soon ar­rived and began beat­ing him, too. He was later sexu­ally as­saul­ted with a broom handle, he test­i­fied. 

In the 18 months since the trio’s ar­rests, Wil­li­ams pleaded guilty to a con­spir­acy charge and Har­old Aiken’s case was trans­ferred to ju­ven­ile court. Shawn Aiken’s men­tal health has been eval­u­ated sev­er­al times, and he has re­peatedly been ruled in­com­pet­ent to stand tri­al.

In a phone in­ter­view on Aug. 11, Shawn Aiken’s at­tor­ney, Earl Raynor, said his cli­ent “has the men­tal age of a much young­er per­son. He is very sus­cept­ible to ma­nip­u­la­tion.” He ad­ded that Aiken has hal­lu­cin­a­tions.

In April, Shawn Aiken was ordered to the De­ten­tion Cen­ter’s forensic unit for men­tal health eval­u­ation for 60 days and ordered re­com­mit­ted in June and Ju­ly for 30 days each time. In all three pre­vi­ous in­stances, he has been found in­com­pet­ent to stand tri­al, Raynor said.

Wil­li­ams pleaded guilty on Ju­ly 13 to crim­in­al con­spir­acy. As­sault and oth­er charges were with­drawn, quashed or not pro­sec­uted. She was sen­tenced to time served to 23 months in­car­cer­a­tion. Five years of con­sec­ut­ive pro­ba­tion were ordered. Wil­li­ams must stay away from the vic­tim. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or jloftus@bsmphilly.com 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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