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Atascadero assault

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  • Keith Hearn
    The Tribune San Luis Obispo, CA December 1, 2005 Two patients are charged in beating of ASH staff member Prosecutors allege Nov. 17 assault on a female
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2005
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      The Tribune
      San Luis Obispo, CA
      December 1, 2005

      Two patients are charged in beating of ASH staff member

      Prosecutors allege Nov. 17 assault on a female
      psychiatric technician was 'done in concert'

      By Sarah Linn
      The Tribune

      County prosecutors have filed criminal charges against two Atascadero
      State Hospital patients, accusing them of severely beating a female
      staff member with their hands and feet.

      Raymond Albert Lopez, 34, and Lynford Jay Perry, 29, face felony charges
      of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, with enhancements
      for great bodily injury. Both men have pleaded not guilty.

      "We're alleging that it was done in concert," Deputy District Attorney
      Karen Gray said, adding that prosecutors believe the Nov. 17 incident
      was a premeditated attack.

      According to investigative reports examined Wednesday by The Tribune,
      the alleged assault took place around 10 p.m., just after the
      psychiatric technician finished her shift.

      Wahida Abdeen-Poncelet, 41, was walking past Perry and Lopez's unit with
      another staff member when Perry "shoved (her) back with both of his
      hands forcefully," Officer David Biro wrote in a Nov. 18 report.

      Lopez later told hospital police that Perry slammed the woman into the
      wall and punched her "like 10 times," according to the reports.

      "Lopez said, 'I hit her in the back of the head and kicked her in the
      leg,' " Officer Sean Keller wrote after interviewing the patient early
      Nov. 18.

      Psych tech Joe Meade, 36, and another patient punched and kicked the men
      to drive them away from the woman, according to investigative reports.

      Staff members found Abdeen-Poncelet lying unconscious in a pool of
      blood, the reports said, bleeding from her head and face and clutching a
      ring of hospital keys in her hand.

      Hospital spokeswoman Barrie Hafler said Abdeen-Poncelet is still at home
      recuperating from her injuries, including cuts and a fractured kneecap.

      "She's going to be away for a while," Hafler said.

      Investigators say it's unclear why the patients might have attacked
      Abdeen-Poncelet.

      According to investigative reports, the psych tech had recently argued
      with Perry about using a water dispenser in a way that violated unit rules.

      Both men are mentally ill offenders considered too dangerous to be
      released on parole into the general population, Hafler said last month.

      Perry's attorney is questioning whether his client is mentally competent
      to stand trial.

      At a Nov. 23 arraignment, Jay Peterson asked the court to appoint two
      psychiatrists to examine Perry's mental health. Their report is due Dec.
      19, when Perry next appears in court.

      Lopez is set to appear in court Dec. 16 for a pre-preliminary hearing.
      The men were being held Wednesday at County Jail.

      Neither Perry nor Lopez's attorney, Christine Cummings, returned calls
      for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.

      - end -
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