By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The teen accused of raping a 93-year-old woman in July has been ruled incompetent to stand trial.
In a special hearing Wednesday, Madison Circuit Court 3 Judge Thomas Newman determined 17-year-old Iquise Taylor was not competent to stand trial for the July 16 rape of Amelia Rudolf.
At the hearing, Newman said it was his responsibility as judge to act as a gatekeeper to ensure a fair trial, and it would be in the best interest of justice to rule Taylor incompetent.
According to court officials, Taylor will now be sent to Logansport State Hospital, a special state psychiatric facility, and will remain there until he is deemed competent to stand trial.
According to reports, early on July 16, someone kicked in the locked door to victim Rudolf’s home in the 3600 block of Hamilton Place. The culprit confined her to a bed, covered her mouth with his hand and assaulted her. Nothing was reported stolen and nothing was vandalized.
The suspect, 17-year-old Taylor of Anderson, was arrested Aug. 23 and his name was released in a news conference on Aug. 26, after he was waived to adult court on the felony charges. Taylor initially denied the attack in early August, but then provided police with a DNA sample which matched DNA taken from Rudolf.
Officially, Taylor is being charged with burglary resulting in bodily injury, a Class A felony; criminal deviate conduct, a Class B felony; criminal confinement, a Class C felony and strangulation, a Class D felony.
Newman’s decision came after two mental health doctors split on whether Taylor was mentally competent to assist in his own defense. Bryan Williams, Taylor’s defense attorney, issued the request in August and the court appointed Dr. Rebecca Mueller of Greenfield and Dr. Frank Krause of Muncie to evaluate Taylor. Mueller determined Taylor was competent. Krause determined he was incompetent.
Both doctors spoke at the Wednesday hearing by phone. Both agreed Taylor is borderline mentally disabled, with Mueller determining he has an IQ of 71 and Krause determining he has an IQ of 67. The doctors also indicated Taylor has been taking special education classes at Anderson High School “for as long as he can remember.”
But Mueller said Taylor’s learning disability didn’t prevent him from being competent for trial. She noted that in her discussions with Taylor, he seemed to deny the charges against him, meaning he did understand the implications.
Krause disagreed. During his evaluation of Taylor, Krause said the teen was easily distracted, would constantly answer simple questions with, “You have to ask my mother,” and scored very low on intelligence tests. He estimated Taylor possesses the intelligence of a 9- or 10-year-old.
Newman said the incompetence ruling is indefinite, meaning Taylor could be kept in Logansport for days or years.
Court 3 issued a gag order on the case in August at the request of Williams.
The order bars any representatives in from making public statements, written or oral, regarding the case outside of public record forums. This includes prosecutors and police officers.
Such gag orders are common in high-profile cases when there is concern that media attention could derail a defense strategy. According to the original request, further media contact would likely produce a result of undue prejudice toward Taylor. The request goes on to note that Taylor’s case has already received extensive media coverage and officials involved have made extrajudicial statements on the matter.
The Herald Bulletin doesn’t usually release the names of victims, but Rudolf agreed to be identified and spoke publicly at a press conference in August. At the meeting, she said she’s been unable to return to the home where the attack happened. Her family has called for a harsh punishment for the suspect.
WISH-TV, The Herald Bulletin’s news-gathering partner, reported in August that Angela Taylor, the teenager’s mother, said he was asleep when the attack happened. However, during the phone discussion with Mueller on Wednesday, it was indicated the teen’s mother told police he was outside in the neighborhood at the time of the attack. Phone calls placed to the Taylor household have gone unanswered.
The ruling means the jury trial originally set for Nov. 5 has been postponed indefinitely.
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