Accused killer will not be released, says legal expert
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Three families continue to suffer as legal action against Joseph Bossard continues for a third year. Bossard is accused of shooting dead two young men and seriously injuring a third in February 2021.
Bossard had been in the Allen County Jail for 94 weeks on Thursday, having been taken into custody several hours after being charged with shooting and killing 19-year-old Anderson Retic and 19-year-old Joshua Cole Cooper. both of Fort Wayne and shooting Jaylin. Rice, 20, who survived her life-threatening injuries.
In late November of that year, Bossard was declared unfit to stand trial by psychiatrists hired by the defense and Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent.
On Wednesday, a transport order was issued by Zent so that Bossard could be removed from the Allen County Jail and taken to an unidentified state mental hospital in hopes that his capacity could be restored to the point that he can be judged.
“The court finds that the defendant is currently incompetent to stand trial as he lacks the ability to assist counsel in his defence,” noted in court documents, an order signed Nov. 22 when the incompetence was declared.
Another jurisdictional hearing scheduled for December 19 has been postponed to January 6. WANE legal analyst Robert Scremin said that when Bossard is treated in a public mental institution, competence could be restored by January.
Background to the case
On February 18, 2021 at the Shell gas station at State Boulevard and Hobson Road, Bossard shot the three around 7 p.m. at gas pump 9 before pursuing them as they demolished Hobson to escape his bullets, according to a affidavit of probable cause.
Police arrived to pull the victims out of a blue 2008 Hyundai Sonata and attempted to save them as they lay on a snow bank. Retic and Cooper were pronounced dead at the scene.
Medication in prison not taken, defense says
In January of this year, Zent determined that Bossard was competent. However, “between then and August, when his defense attorneys filed a request for a reassessment of that jurisdiction, what they alleged in their motion was that jail, for whatever reason , failed to provide some of the drugs to Mr. Bossard and his condition deteriorated and they asked to have him reassessed,” WANE legal analyst Robert Scremin said on Wednesday.
“Two doctors agreed that he was now unfit to stand trial. The judge agreed with that finding and issued an order saying that Mr. Bossard be transported to a mental health facility in Indiana for treatment and evaluation” Their report is due within 90 days of the Nov. 22 order, according to court documents.
Prison doctor says inmate has final say on medication
Administering drugs in prison can be tricky because the inmate has the final say except when the court orders the drugs and even then it can be difficult, said Lisa Scroggins, president of Quality Correctional Care, the provider Allen County Medical. Jail and approximately 75 jails statewide.
“We come across these cases regularly across the state,” Scroggins said, adding that jails have become “the new detention centers for many people with mental illness.”
If a judge orders medication, the medications are provided daily or on any day they are ordered, Scroggins said.
“If someone does not comply, the patient has the right to refuse it unless the judge orders forced medication. Every time a drug is offered, it’s documented, Scroggins said.
January 6 still set for the next jurisdictional hearing
Scremin says the January court date is still included in court documents, most likely “just to see how things go. Because they have trial dates and they want to hang on to those dates. “if possible. It’s entirely possible, if he goes back on his meds, that the state hospital will determine he’s fit to stand trial by January,” he added.
If it turns out he is not, the trial dates will be rescheduled. Currently, his 10-day trial is scheduled to start on February 27 and run until March 10. The charges include two counts of murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault where the defendant knowingly inflicts injury creating a substantial risk of death, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon and the use of a firearm in the commission of an offense is also a life trial without the possibility of parole.
Scremin says the family shouldn’t worry about Bossard escaping or being released.
“These are very safe institutions,” Scremin said. “They face this kind of situation all the time. He will therefore be transported from the Allen County Jail to a very secure mental health facility and when, or if found competent, he will be returned to the Allen County Jail. He will not be released.
According to protocol, a judge issues a transportation order which is picked up by the state’s Mental Health and Addictions Division. The jail is waiting for a state mental hospital to alert staff when an opening occurs, said Steve Stone, spokesman for the Allen County Sheriff’s Department.
“The order falls. We get a copy and the psychiatric facility gets a copy. They contact us and say ‘this is when we will have a bed available’ and then we make arrangements with them,” Stone said.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Bossard is seen on store camera video approaching the Hyundai and opening fire, then jumping into his red pickup truck to chase them as they drove off. Just before the attack, he allegedly argued with the three of them inside the convenience store. The reason they argued was not disclosed.
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