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Judge declares man accused of Tampa rape mentally incompetent

TAMPA — Joseph Frye, who led police on a manhunt through Seminole Heights in the fall after a rape, was found incompetent Thursday to continue with his criminal case.

The decision by Circuit Judge Chet A. Tharpe came after Frye was evaluated by two doctors. Assistant State Attorney Kimberly Hindman did not object. He will be transferred to a state hospital until his competency is restored.

Frye, 50, has spent almost half his life incarcerated, and his entire life in the state's care — from his crib at a foster home to a center for juvenile delinquents to a jail cell.

He was out of prison for less than a month when he was accused of breaking into the home of a Seminole Heights woman in her 70s and raping her at gunpoint. He is charged with eight crimes in the attack, including four counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon.

The account bears similarities to the 1985 crime for which Frye was convicted. He was 25 and out of prison for less than a month when he forced his way into a home at gunpoint and tied up a woman, her husband and son. He kidnapped, raped and robbed the woman.

Hindman said there is no predetermined amount of time Frye will spend at the hospital, and that doctors and lawyers will communicate about his mental health status.

If convicted, Frye could get multiple life sentences.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3354.

Judge declares man accused of Tampa rape mentally incompetent 06/03/10 [Last modified: Thursday, June 3, 2010 10:49pm]
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