Victim’s family supports grandson accused of murder
Edward Bogan's family Wednesday expressed forgiveness toward the 19-year-old grandson accused of stabbing Bogan to death in Clinton last week.
After a New Hartford Town Court judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether Kevin Adams is competent to face his second-degree murder charge, one of Bogan's daughters, Elizabeth Eaton, stated the family's belief that Adams' alleged actions were the result of a mental health issue.
Eaton also said the rest of 80-year-old Bogan's family remains united in its “complete and undivided support” of Adams.
“My father and his grandson Kevin were extremely close, and I can think of no one less likely to be in this situation than Kevin,” Eaton read from a prepared statement.
“I know that my father would have instantly forgiven Kevin, and my brothers and sisters and I instantly forgave Kevin as well,” she said.
Defense: Adams may be schizophrenic
Eaton said she was unable to specifically talk about her nephews' personal circumstances that preceded Bogan's death last Friday, but she did confirm Adams, who lives on Utica Street in Clinton, had been scheduled to see a doctor that same afternoon.
“Please don't forget the Kevin that you personally knew,” Eaton read, aiming her comments toward the public. “We would ask that you be supportive of our entire family as we seek to provide Kevin with the mental health assistance that he so desperately needs.”
Earlier in court, Adams' public defender Frank Nebush Jr. waived Adams' felony hearing and asked Judge William Virkler to have Adams undergo a mental evaluation before his case proceeds any further.
“My client has suffered a number of very recent psychotic events,” including comments that he is Jesus Christ and that he has seen extraterrestrials, Nebush said.
Based on conversations with Adams, his family, and police officers, Nebush said he believes Adams is schizophrenic and cannot assist in his own defense.
Such a psychiatric exam would only determine if Adams is mentally competent to proceed with his case, prosecutors explained. It will not conclude whether Adams suffered any mental instability at the time he is accused of stabbing his grandfather several times in the neck at Bogan's Clinton House apartment.
Prosecutors: Adams aware of crime, surroundings
First Assistant District Attorney Michael Coluzza argued against ordering such an exam, stating Adams appeared oriented to his surroundings in court Wednesday and indicated he knew why he was arrested.
At Coluzza's request, Virkler asked Adams a series of questions to gauge Adams' mental state.
“Hi, Kevin,” Virkler said.
“Hi,” a shackled Adams replied as roughly a dozen family members sat behind him.
Adams said he knew he was charged in Bogan's death, and he could face prison time or psychiatric institutionalization “because of the possibility I was unable to perceive my actions” the day Bogan was killed.
When Virkler asked Adams about seeing space aliens, Adams recalled sitting around a campfire with some friends several years ago and spotting a light in the sky.
“The characteristics of the light were unidentifiable according to my understanding of physics and reality,” Adams explained.
Virkler said Adams' comments seemed clear and concise, but Nebush advised Virkler to not rely just on a “snapshot” conversation that may not accurately reflect Adams' possible schizophrenia. Such schizophrenics often appear coherent at times despite irrational behavior, Nebush said.
Two psychiatrics to evaluate Adams
Erring on the side of caution, Virkler said he would order two psychiatrists to make their own determination over the next several weeks. In the meantime, prosecutors could still present Adams' case to a grand jury for possible indictment.
Moments before the court proceeding ended, Adams' shouted, “I wish to fire my attorney,” after which his family gasped. Afterwards, Nebush said inmates at the jail have told Adams that he would get more sympathy from a jury if he fired his attorney and represented himself.
Although Adams appears to fundamentally understand his charge, Nebush said Adams needs to be able to rationally explain why this deadly incident happened.
“Everybody wants to know why he killed his grandfather, and that hasn't come out,” Nebush said.