Kidnapping suspect too delusional to be evaluated by psychiatrists, lawyer says

ppemberton@thetribunenews.comJune 2, 2014 

Annette Hale appears in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on kidnapping charges on Aug. 10, 2011.

JAYSON MELLOM — The Tribune

A woman accused of kidnapping a 4-year-old boy three years ago is too delusional to be evaluated by psychiatric experts in her insanity case, her attorney said Monday.

As a result, for the third time, her attorney has expressed a doubt as to her competency, and her case has been suspended.

Annette Hale, 55, had previously been declared incompetent to stand trial on two occasions. Competency requires a defendant understand the charges against them and have the ability to assist in his or her defense.

Last month, after treatment at a state mental hospital, Hale had been declared competent long enough to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Hale — who has been delusional for 20 years, according to her daughter — is charged with abducting a boy from a homeless shelter in August 2011.

After entering her insanity plea, two psychiatric experts were assigned to evaluate her and offer their opinions as to whether she was legally sane when the alleged abduction occurred. But the doctors had to terminate the evaluations early because she was experiencing paranoid delusions, said her attorney, Jim Maguire.

After Maguire declared a doubt to her sanity, new psychiatric evaluations were ordered — this time to determine if Hale is competent. Those reports are due back June 23.

If Hale is deemed incompetent, she will be returned to a state hospital to receive further treatment.

The alleged victim in the case was found safe and returned to his mother.

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