Man charged with killing social worker deemed incompetent
DADE CITY -
A man charged with stabbing a social worker to death as she ran for her life was deemed incompetent to stand trial this week.
Lucious Edward Smith, 54, was evaluated Monday morning inside the Land O’ Lakes Jail and determined to be mentally unfit for a trial. It was the third time a doctor has come to that conclusion, public defender Tom Hanlon said.
Following the evaluation, assistant state attorney Manny Garcia and Hanlon met with Circuit Court Judge Pat Siracusa to deliver the findings. Siracusa then ruled on Smith’s incompetence.
“He’ll be remanded to a state hospital where he’ll undergo competency restoration, which they will monitor him and give him whatever medications are deemed necessary and hopefully, with the treatment, will gain his competency,” Garcia said.
On December 10, Ross, a social worker for Maryland-based Integra Health Management, visited Smith’s 37020 Coleman Ave. apartment in Dade City to deliver paperwork. Smith chased Ross from his apartment and stabbed her several times with a butcher knife, according to the Pasco Sheriff's Office.
Ross was 25.
Following a visit to Smith’s home in October, Ross made a note in her file that she was “very uncomfortable” about visiting Smith’s home alone.
Originally, two doctors hired by Hanlon – Dr. Richard Carpenter and Dr. Steven Kanakis – assessed Smith as incompetent, but the state’s doctor – Dr. Peter Bursten – said otherwise. Monday was the first time all three doctors agreed to Smith’s incompetence.
“Right now, all three doctors found him incompetent, so if he gets competent then they’ll bring him back and we’ll have a trial,” Hanlon said. “If they can’t get him competent, then he’ll just be in the hospital.”
The Ross family, through a victim’s advocate, was informed that all three doctors agreed on Smith’s incompetence, Garcia said.
Although there is no set timeline, Smith could find himself before a judge answering to capital murder charges.
“Dr. Bursten is hopeful that within 6 to 9 months that he would regain his competency and we can obviously address the charges then,” Garcia said.
Witnesses told police that Smith chased Ross from his front door and caught her in the street just outside his home. He then stabbed her multiple times.
After the stabbing, a passing motorist took Ross to Pasco Regional Medical Center, where she later died.
In January, Smith entered a plea of not guilty during his arraignment, also held before Judge Siracusa.
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