Man found competent to stand trial in shooting of priest

Stokes' lawyer seeks time to review evaluation

court date moved to Dec. 10

October 18, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Dontee D. Stokes, who is accused of shooting a city priest over alleged sexual abuse, has been found competent to stand trial by state psychiatrists, Stokes' lawyer said yesterday.

His lawyer, Warren A. Brown, asked for a postponement of his trial, which was scheduled to begin next week in Baltimore Circuit Court, saying he needed time to review the evaluation. The trial is set to begin Dec. 10.

"We don't necessarily agree with these conclusions," Brown said of the evaluation performed by state psychiatrists.

Stokes, who faces nine criminal counts in the shooting May 13 of the Rev. Maurice J. Blackwell, told police he shot the 56-year-old priest because the clergyman would not apologize for sexually assaulting him when Stokes was a teen-ager.

The state's attorney's office is investigating Blackwell, but he has not been charged with a crime.

Brown sent a letter to State's Attorney Patricia C. Jessamy yesterday, telling her the investigation has been "languishing for some time." He also told Jessamy he needs to know soon whether she will charge Blackwell with sexual abuse, because that would affect whether Brown could call the priest as a witness in Stokes' case.

"It is our position that if you are not going to prosecute him, then he is a compellable witness," Brown wrote.

Jessamy responded through a spokeswoman, saying the investigation into Blackwell is nearing an end.

"The state's attorney has recently received a final report from detectives regarding the investigation into the allegation," the spokeswoman, said. "The office is reviewing them and will make a decision in the near future regarding this matter that will allow sufficient time to prepare for the December court date."

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