LIMA — A second psychological evaluation has determined a Lima man charged with raping a girl under the age of 13 is competent to stand trial.
Despite that report, a jury trial scheduled to begin next week for Everett Ward was postponed to allow attorneys to debate other outstanding motions in the case.
Ward, who turns 43 years of age on Thursday, appeared in Allen County Common Pleas Court Wednesday morning and, at the recommendation of his court-appointed attorney, Steve Chamberlain, waived his constitutional right to a speedy trial.
That decision came on the heels of a report by Dr. Stanley Edwards of the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Toledo. In his report, issued Feb. 25, Edwards concluded that Ward “is capable of assisting legal counsel” in his defense and is therefore “competent to stand trial at this time.” That opinion contrasted with an opinion issued in November by Dr. Carla Dreyer of the Psychiatry Center for Western Ohio in Dayton that Ward was incompetent to stand trial but that his competency could be restored over time.
Judge Jeffrey Reed on Wednesday said the opinions of the two psychiatric professionals were “not completely inconsistent” in the evaluations of Ward’s mental health.
A grand jury in June of last year returned indictments on two counts of rape and one count of gross sexual imposition alleging that Ward engaged in sexual conduct with a person less than 13 years of age by force or the threat of force on or about Aug. 6 of last year.
The rape charges are first-degree felonies, while the gross sexual imposition is a third-degree felony.
According to court documents, the mother of a juvenile female reported to the Lima Police Department that her daughter had been sexually assaulted by Ward at his residence on Elm Street in Lima. The alleged victim told her mother that Ward “had her get naked and sit on his lap while he was naked,” court documents show. At that time, Ward reportedly began to touch the young girl’s breasts and vaginal area.
Ward initially denied any wrongdoing but later changed his statement and admitted having contact with the juvenile, stating that she spent the night at his trailer, according to court documents.
Ward’s attorney previously filed a motion alleging that police had failed to properly advise Ward of his Miranda rights against self-incrimination prior to conducting a jailhouse interrogation and seeking to suppress any statements made by the Lima man to police. The judge had never ruled on that motion, following a motion by prosecutors to submit additional evidence and pending a final decision on Ward’s competency.
Reed said Wednesday that the suppression hearing would be continued at 1 p.m. March 18.