County officer pleads insanity in kidnapping Mental test due yesterday not done, his lawyer says

February 16, 1996|By Elaine Tassy | Elaine Tassy,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County police officer charged with kidnapping a United Parcel Service driver in October has entered an insanity plea, but a mental test for which results were due in court yesterday has not been done, his lawyer said.

Officer Joseph Goetz, an 11-year police veteran assigned to the Essex Precinct, was charged with assaulting and kidnapping UPS driver William Yohn at gunpoint Oct. 10 in Timonium.

He also was charged with armed robbery, carjacking, grand theft and using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime, and was suspended without pay.

Pleas of not guilty and not criminally responsible by reason of insanity were entered on the officer's behalf Dec. 15 by his attorney, Henry L. Belsky.

When such a plea is filed, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene must conduct an examination to determine whether a defendant lacked the capacity to appreciate the criminal nature of the act and conform to the law.

The test was to have been performed within 60 days of the plea being entered, according to the county Circuit Court order signed by Judge Alfred L. Brennan Sr.

But Mr. Belsky said yesterday that his client has not been examined because of a legal issue: "We have not reached agreement as to how what he tells the doctor would be handled on an evidentiary basis."

Mr. Belsky would not discuss the officer's mental condition. "I just think he's a fine police officer, and I think this case is very defensible," he said. "We intend to defend it, based on our investigation of the facts."

Meanwhile, Assistant State's Attorney Jason G. League is preparing for the trial, which is set to begin April 23, with interviews of Mr. Yohn and witnesses who said they saw him jump out of the UPS truck with his hands tied.

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