Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sterner is ruled competent for trial

TAMPA — The quadriplegic man dumped from his wheelchair at the Hillsborough County jail is mentally competent to face charges in a criminal case, a judge ruled at a Monday hearing.

Three doctors have examined Brian Sterner, 32, of Riverview and all found him competent, reports his attorney, Michael Maddux.

Sterner said he also had been examined for any physical injuries from the wheelchair incident.

"I've seen one medical doctor," he said. "It seems like my left shoulder might be shot."

The competency issue surfaced as part of the criminal traffic charges against Sterner that first led to his arrest.

He was originally represented by Largo attorney John Trevena, who raised concerns that Sterner was not mentally competent to face the charges.

As evidence, Trevena filed a time line compiled by Sterner's parents, which showed he had been hospitalized four times since September for mental health problems.

Trevena also shared his own observations. He said Sterner refused to be examined by any doctor in Florida because he felt all of them were incompetent. During a meeting with prosecutors, Sterner demanded cash and a helicopter ride to a treatment center.

Sterner declined to comment on the specific allegations Monday, other than to say that he wasn't the one who wrote the time line.

At Monday's hearing, Dr. Walter Afield told the judge he had examined Sterner and found him competent to proceed with the criminal case, but he added that Sterner may need further care.

Sterner was arrested Jan. 29, accused of fleeing and eluding police during a traffic stop, jail records show.

After his arrest, Sterner was brought into the Orient Road Jail's Central Booking area. A video shows Detention Deputy Charlette Marshall-Jones tipping Sterner out of his wheelchair onto the floor of the booking area.

The incident drew national attention and prompted a public apology from Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee. Marshall-Jones resigned. She was arrested on a charge of abuse of a disabled adult. No hearing has been set in her case, according to her attorney, Norman Cannella.

The release of the video sparked others to come forward, alleging abuse by jail employees. An independent commission was set up to review policies at the jail and to recommend improvements. The commission's next meeting is Friday.

The next hearing in Sterner's fleeing and eluding case is May 13.

Abbie VanSickle can be reached at vansickle@sptimes.com or 813-226-3373.

Sterner is ruled competent for trial 03/31/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 3:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Six new restaurants opening this summer: Burgerim, Rocco's Tacos, American Social

    Food & Dining

    OPENING SOON

    Feeling a little peckish? You're in luck, with a big raft of new restaurants poised to launch, including three at International Plaza.

    BURGERIM

    In the fast-casual arena, Burgerim is opening in late July at 800 N Franklin St. in Tampa. The concept is mini burgers, so you won’t be eating just one.
  2. Hernando County Commission rejects plan for waste-to-energy plant

    Local Government

    BROOKSVILLE — After several years of discussion, many hours of staff time trying to negotiate a contract and questions about viability, the Hernando County Commission this week voted unanimously to turn down a contract with Freedom Energy Hernando LLC and abandoned the idea of having the county spearhead a …

     Commissioner John Allocco made the motion to deny the contract to Freedom Energy.
  3. Lack of parking for boat trailers causing turmoil along Port Richey waterfront

    Local Government

    PORT RICHEY — As Memorial Day and the summer boating season approach, the city of Port Richey finds itself in turmoil over parking along the city's waterfront.

    Gill Dawg restaurant owner Erik Suojanen, standing on property he owns across from his business, discusses a notice of violation he received from the city for allowing parking there without a submitting a site plan to the city.
 [Photo by Robert Napper]
  4. Tampa court hearing rescheduled for accused neo-Nazi jihadist killer

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Attorneys for Devon Arthurs, the alleged former neo-Nazi turned jihadist accused of shooting to death his two roommates, have asked to reschedule a court hearing that had been set for Wednesday morning.

    Devon Arthurs, 18, and his friend Brandon Russell, 22, never outgrew the extremist ideology of a disaffected youth, according to an acquaintance. Arthurs is now accused of shooting to death two of their roommates and Russell faces federal charges in connection with bomb-making materials found in their apartment. [Tampa Police Department]
  5. Parent of struggling DeVry University is changing its name to Adtalem

    Corporate

    Associated Press

    DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — The company that owns one of the nation's largest for-profit college chains is changing its name.

    This 2009 photo shows the entrance to the DeVry University in Miramar, Fla. DeVry Education Group, which owns DeVry University, announced Wednesday that it will now be called Adtalem Global Education. 
[Associated Press file photo]