A federal magistrate ruled this morning that a 50-year-old transient woman who allegedly robbed a Lawrence savings and loan last week must undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
Brent Anderson, an assistant U.S. attorney in Wichita, said this morning that U.S. Magistrate Ronald C. Newman made the ruling during a detention hearing for Carol Ann Scroggins, who is charged with a single count of bank robbery.
Scroggins allegedly robbed Columbia Savings, 901 Vt., on Thursday. She was arrested less than an hour later at the Low Rider Mexican Cafe, 943 Mass., where she had gone to order tacos and beers.
Anderson said that during this morning's hearing, Scroggins' court-appointed attorney told Newman his client needed some type of psychological or alcohol abuse treatment. Federal prosecutors, Anderson said, then made a motion for Scroggins to undergo evaluations. Newman granted the motion.
SCROGGINS has been placed in the custody of the Department of Justice and will undergo the evaluation at a federal medical center either in Lexington, Ky., or Rochester, Minn., Anderson said.
He said all trial proceedings will be stayed until the evaluation is completed.
Authorities, Anderson said, will determine whether Scroggins is competent to stand trial and whether she was legally sane at the time of the alleged robbery.
Anderson said that if Scroggins is declared incompetent meaning that she is unable to understand the nature of the court proceedings and is unable to assist in her defense she will be sent to a federal mental health facility. Court proceedings will be stayed until she is determined mentally competent to stand trial. Doctors at the facility will be required to notify the court about her progress every 60 days.
ANDERSON declined to speculate about what prosecutors would do if Scroggins were declared legally insane. However, he said, prosecutors would be "hard-pressed to move forward" were such a finding made.
Scroggins was released from the Arizona State Prison in June 1991 after serving a sentence for a June 1986 bank robbery in Tucson, authorities said.
Kent Pekarek, U.S. marshal for Kansas, said Monday that Scroggins listed her current residence as a homeless shelter in Kansas City, Mo.
From March through May, she had been staying at the Lawrence Salvation Army's homeless shelter, said Jim McDonald, shelter director.
McDonald speculated that Scroggins wanted to return to prison.
Authorities reported that Scroggins made off with $3,020 in Thursday's robbery after pointing a toy pistol at a teller. A customer tracked her from the savings and loan to the Low Rider, where the customer called police.