Man Who Allegedly Shot Pro-Life Advocate James Pouillon Declared Incompetent
by Steven Ertelt
October 2, 2009
Owosso, MI (LifeNews.com) — The man who allegedly shot and killed pro-life advocate James Pouillon and a local businessman last month has been declared mentally incompetent to stand trial. Local resident Harlan Drake stands accused of shooting Pouillon as he protested abortion outside a high school.
District Court Judge Terrance P. Dignan signed an order on Wednesday declaring Drake incompetent to stand trial and remanding the 33-year-old to the State Department of Mental Health for treatment.
Despite the decision, Judge Dignan said there is a good possibility that treatment will make it so Drake will attain competence enough to be tried for the September 11 shootings.
Robert Ashley, Drake’s attorney, told the Owosso Argus-Press newspaper that there were several reasons for the ruling.
He said Drake’s suicide attempt two days after the shooting was a factor along with a 2004 crash Drake was involved in that resulted in the death of two teenagers which saw them fail to yield to his truck.
Drake’s family has also said that the man battles depression and other mental health problems.
We have fought all along that Mr. Drake’s mental health was an issue here and this seems to support that, Ashley said, according to the newspaper. We certainly want him to get well and now he is in a facility where that can occur – as opposed to the Shiawassee County Jail, which just wasn’t equipped to handle him.
Drake will receive treatment at the Center for Forensic Psychiatry for a maximum of 15 months, and the first trial on the charges has been postponed until then.
Ashley said he doesn’t know how long it will take for Drake to attain competency but said he didn’t expected it to take the full 15 months.
Shiawassee County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Sara Edwards indicated the case will move forward as soon as Drake is ready to stand trial and explained that the mental facility is a secure facility.
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