Archive for Friday, July 18, 2003

Competency hearing ordered for store assault suspect

July 18, 2003

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— A man suspected of assaulting two children in discount stores in Kentucky and West Virginia will undergo a mental evaluation before entering a plea in either case, a judge decided Thursday.

Allen Dwayne Coates, 37, sobbed as he appeared in a Jefferson County courtroom. His attorney said he had a long history of mental illness and could not assist in his defense.

"He's a danger to himself at this point. He's questioning his own actions," attorney Fred Radolovich said.

Coates, who was arrested Wednesday outside Radolovich's office in Louisville after a tip from a family member, is accused of assaulting a 9-year-old girl July 11 at a Wal-Mart in Ashland. The following day, police say, he attacked an 11-year-old girl at a Target in South Charleston, W.Va., about 60 miles away.

Both girls said they were attacked by a man posing as a security guard.

A surveillance video from the Target store showed a man stalking a young girl and then quickly leading her by the wrist down an aisle. Coates allegedly ordered the girl to perform oral sex on him while holding a knife, according to court documents. He allegedly took her to another area of the store and assaulted her again.

Radolovich said Coates recalled being in West Virginia but could not provide details of the events that took place.

"It's critical that he knows what's going on," Radolovich said.

Judge William P. Ryan ordered the competency evaluation at a hearing to extradite Coates to West Virginia. Ryan allowed six weeks for the evaluation, delaying a possible extradition.

Coates lives in a mobile home on his father's property in Irvington, about 60 miles southwest of Louisville. Bobby Coates said his son had been taking an anti-depressant, but had stopped because he did not have health insurance.

Coates faces a charge of first-degree attempted sodomy in the Kentucky case. The girl in that case said the attacker patted her down, after which she became suspicious and ran to her mother.

In West Virginia, Coates faces charges of sexual assault, kidnapping and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

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