Man accused in death plot to undergo mental tests

Reputed leader of cult of space aliens is `not criminally responsible'

Carroll County

April 24, 2002|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The reputed leader of a space-alien cult is to undergo a mental evaluation as the result of an insanity plea filed in Carroll County Circuit Court, where he and three alleged followers were scheduled for trial next month on murder-conspiracy charges.

Scott Caruthers, 56, of the 500 block of Scott Drive, Westminster, remained yesterday at the Carroll County Detention Center, where he has been held on $1 million bail since Oct. 3.

He is accused of solicitation of and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, with his wife, Dashielle Lashra, 42; Dulsa Naedek, 42, who lived at their home, and David S. Pearl, 46, a lawyer, of the 100 block of Masters Court. The others charged also have been held since October on $1 million bail each.

Caruthers' defense attorney, George Psoras Jr., entered the plea in court papers noting Maryland law that Caruthers is "not criminally responsible by reason of insanity," because at the time of the alleged offense he lacked the capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the law because of a mental disorder.

Judge Michael M. Galloway signed an order April 4 for an examination by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to determine whether the defendant is criminally responsible. It is to be completed within 60 days of the order, according to the document.

Caruthers, an artist, author and inventor, had been previously profiled in The Sun as a cult leader who communicated with a mother spaceship through cats, according to former associates and writings of an organization called Beta Dominion Xenophilia.

But Caruthers said at the time that he was using the materials for his science-fiction writing, not in connection with a cult.

According to charging documents in the criminal case, the four co-defendants are accused of planning in August and September of last year to hire a hit man to kill Caruthers' former business associate, David Gable of Baltimore County. But the supposed hit man instead went to authorities, according to charging documents.

Charging documents said that two ex-husbands of the women and a man who tried to help family members investigate the cult were targets.

At a bail hearing last fall, the attorney for Pearl said the supposed hit man was running a "scam" on the defendants and law enforcement officials.

A fifth defendant, Amy C. Dardick, 40, formerly of the 500 block of Scott Drive was charged Oct. 20 with a conspiracy - naming the four other defendants - to have her ex-husband killed, according to charging documents in that case.

Dardick was released on $10,000 bail and allowed to enter a deprogramming treatment center. She is to be tried separately.

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