A federal court last week reversed reversed a determination about the mental fitness of a criminal defendant to stand trial on charges of damaging public property. U.S. Magistrate Ruth Miller declared Texas defendant Spencer Wayne Allen unfit after he appeared at a June 14 competency hearing.
Allen is charged in connection with a Feb. 28 arson attack on three federal facilites on St. Thomas. The competency hearing was held after the defendant was returned to St. Thomas after Miller sent him off island for a mental evaluation.
The initial report from the medical facility was that Allen had the mental capacity to assist his legal defense.
Miller ordered proceedings to go forward and set a pre trial hearing for May 24.
In an additional step, Miller directed that the confidentiality placed on documents related to Allens’ case be removed.
“The court deems that nothing in the motion or response warrants a sealing and the Court intends to unseal those documents,” the magistrate said on May 18.
Since then, in a separate proceeding, details about the conduct of a detainee at the Criminal Justice Complex on St. Thomas with the initials S.A. The information was aired at a status hearing before District Court Judge Curtis Gomez over jail conditions.
At that time Gomez questioned Deputy Warden Kelvin Williams about incident involving two inmates, C.P. and S.A. and the steps taken by Corrections officers to manage the inmates’ behavior.
Among the actions attributed to S.A. were four suicide attempts, two at the facility, two more at
Schneider Regional Medical Center where medical treatment was given. There were also reports of disruptive behavior and verbal abuse directed towards jail personnel.
Among the documents subject to public access in the case was a handwritten letter sent from Allen to Miller. In that letter Allen said he tried to take his own life because he thought of himself as a captured Russian agent.
The defendant also complained he was being brutalized and drugged by his captors.
After the competency hearing the defendant’s court records were placed under seal.
Allen was arrested in the early morning hours of March 1 after he was seen on surveillance camera pouring a flammable liquid on the facade of the Ron de Lugo Federal Building and setting it on fire. Investigators told the court the defendant was also caught on camera pouring a flammable lquid over a shed behind the Coast Guard station on the Charlotte Amalie Waterfront, ignighting gasoline on the front lawn at the station.
At that location authorities said they saw the defendant’s face was partially covered by a black substance. He was also seen on camera at the Nisky Shopping Center a few minutes later, leaving a pickup truck and holding what appeared to be a gas canister.
A few minutes after that, emergency crews were called to the scene of a blaze at the Navy recruiting center at Nisky. The truck Allen was seen leaving a few moment earlier was also captured as it left the scene.