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UNITED STATES v. LANCASTER

January 8, 1976

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
JAMES D. LANCASTER



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FLANNERY

 Thomas A. Flannery, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 This matter is before the court on the motion of the defendant James D. Lancaster to dismiss with prejudice a three-count indictment charging him with felony murder, second degree murder and robbery and the government's opposition thereto.

 On January 2, 1972, the defendant was arrested and charged with felony murder. The essential facts giving rise to the charges reveal that on the evening of January 1, 1972, the defendant in company with the co-defendants Gelena Beavers and Roberta G. Tyson met one Hezekiah Griffin in a bar located at 4th and K Streets, Northwest. On the pretext of performing sexual acts with Griffin they lured him to an apartment at 458 K Street, Northwest where they proceeded to rob him of approximately $200. After beating him severely during the robbery the defendants then threw their victim out of a third story window causing multiple injuries which resulted in death.

 On February 17, 1972, Lancaster, Tyson and Beavers were indicted in a three-count indictment charging them with felony murder, second degree murder and robbery. *fn1"

 On February 28, 1972, the defendant Lancaster was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty to the indictment. On March 6, 1972, an oral motion of the defendant for a mental examination was granted by the court, and the defendant was committed to Saint Elizabeth's Hospital for a mental examination.

 On April 28, 1972, a status call was held at which time a trial date of August 23, 1972 was set for all defendants. On May 11, 1972, a letter from Saint Elizabeth's Hospital was received stating that Lancaster was mentally competent to stand trial. *fn2"

 By letter dated July 31, 1973, Saint Elizabeth's Hospital advised the court that Lancaster was mentally incompetent to stand trial and was likely to remain incompetent for trial indefinitely. *fn4" Thereafter on October 1, 1973, the defendant filed a motion pursuant to Jackson v. Indiana, 406 U.S. 715, 32 L. Ed. 2d 435, 92 S. Ct. 1845 (1972) seeking to be released to the custody of his Aunt or alternatively that the government institute civil commitment proceedings within 15 days. On October 26, 1973, another competency hearing was held and Lancaster was again determined to be incompetent to stand trial and additionally that he would not regain his competency within the foreseeable future. At this time the court directed the government to institute civil commitment proceedings within 15 days. Pursuant to this order Dr. F. Jay Pepper of the staff of Saint Elizabeth's Hospital certified on December 18, 1973 that Lancaster was mentally ill and dangerous. However, the Mental Health Commission, after hearing testimony, rejected the government's petition for civil commitment. *fn5"

 On January 18, 1974, the court held a further hearing on the defendant's motion and ordered him released from Saint Elizabeth's Hospital to the third-party custody of his Aunt. The court further ordered that the defendant undergo a psychiatric examination to review the status of his mental competency every six months.

 On December 9, 1974, the court denied a motion filed by the defendant to dismiss Counts One through Three of the Indictment after consideration of the testimony of Dr. Mould and oral argument by counsel for the parties.

 On October 9, 1974, Dr. Mould at the direction of the court filed another report with the court which stated his opinion that the defendant's mental condition had deteriorated and that he was still incompetent to stand trial.

 On October 17, 1975, Dr. Mould testified further that in his opinion Lancaster would probably never regain his competency. Evidence at this hearing further revealed that the defendant was still residing with his Aunt and was working as a ...


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