A Dayton teen wounded by police and facing charges stemming from a Miamisburg armed robbery has entered an insanity plea fewer than two weeks before his trial was scheduled to start.
The attorney for Charles Vincent Ashford filed a not guilty by reason of insanity plea Wednesday, indefinitely postponing a Jan. 28 trial.
Ashford was shot Feb. 5, 2018, at what has been described as a chaotic, life-threatening scene that drew several law enforcement agencies to the Ohio 725/Interstate 75 interchange. Court records show Ashford, 18, fired a gun at police and claimed to be an undercover FBI agent.
“Recently surfaced” evidence “would tend to show the defendant is mentally incompetent and, at the time of the commission of the alleged offense … the defendant did not know, as a result of severe mental disease or defect, the wrongfulness of his acts,” according to the filing in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
Ashford’s attorney, Jeffrey Gramza, declined to elaborate on the issue.
Ashford, who was 17 last February, has no criminal history. He is being tried as an adult before Judge Barbara Gorman, and he has been in juvenile detention since his arrest.
The defendant will undergo a mental evaluation by a court-appointed specialist, who will prepare a report on Ashford’s competency before the next court date March 13, Gramza said.
The defendant was indicted on seven counts of aggravated robbery, one count of felonious assault on a police officer, discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises, and impersonating a peace officer, records show. All of the charges accuse the teen of using a gun.
Before transferring the case to adult court, Juvenile Judge Anthony Capizzi told Ashford the crimes is accused of created a situation in a heavy-traffic area where “there were potentially hundreds of people put at risk.”
The change in plea follows Gorman’s ruling in November to allow statements from a Miamisburg police officer that he said Ashford made to him after his arrest.
Officer Russell Green testified last fall that Ashford said, “Officer Green, I’m sorry for terrorizing your citizens.”
The charges against Ashford stem from actions on Feb. 4-5, court records show. The night before the Miamisburg robbery, Ashford is accused of an armed robbery in Dayton.
The next afternoon, authorities said, Ashford robbed a Byers Road Shell station and sought to flee by trying to carjack vehicles near the interstate. Off-duty Miami Twp. Officer James Swearingen wounded the teen in the arm after officials said Ashford failed to comply with his orders to drop a gun, records show.
A grand jury later cleared Swearingen of any wrongdoing, saying he acted lawfully. Swearingen’s actions later earned him a state law enforcement honor.
At the Miamisburg scene, a woman who identified herself as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent initially said in a 911 call that it appeared a police officer had been shot, as Ashford claimed to be an undercover FBI agent, records show.
Also responding were Miamisburg police, the Miami Valley Fire District and two Jackson Twp. Police Department members, who said they happened to be in area en route to Centerville.
Ashford is being held on a $500,000 bond.
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