CHICAGO (CBS) — A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the government has failed to prove that an accused terrorist is fit to stand trial, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman is sending Adel Daoud to a psychiatric facility for three months, saying he lacks a rational understanding of the legal proceedings at this time.
She does, however, hope he still can go to trial — possibly by February.
It has been nearly four years since Daoud, 22, said a prayer and allegedly pushed the detonator on a fake car bomb given to him by an undercover federal agent in September 2012. The feds say Daoud parked the inert explosive near a downtown Chicago bar as he plotted an attack that would be “massive; I want something that’s gonna make it in the news.”
The Hillside man has been locked up ever since. But Daoud still allegedly tried from jail to plot the murder of the undercover agent. And he allegedly assaulted a fellow inmate last year over a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
His case received national attention when Coleman found in 2014 that Daoud’s attorney should be allowed to see the classified evidence against him. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals eventually overruled her.
But new concerns arose about Daoud’s mental fitness after the alleged inmate assault, and because of Daoud’s ramblings in court about the Freemasons and Illuminati. The judge reluctantly agreed earlier this year to push his trial back to Feb. 7. However, the questions about his mental state threatened to put the case on hold even longer.
A two-day hearing last week revealed Daoud’s apparent belief that he will be executed by the feds, that he drafted a will predicting his beheading in a satanic ritual, and that he sought a plea deal that would let him travel overseas to fight for the Free Syrian Army.
“Would someone please tell me how I’m supposed to counsel someone who believes you are part of the Illuminati,” said Daoud’s lead attorney, Thomas Durkin, referring to the judge, “and that I might be part of the Illuminati?”
Daoud has spent most of his adult life behind bars — and much of that time in solitary confinement — and he now refers to himself as a “hostage.” He opposed his attorney’s bid to have him found mentally unfit.
“Send me a million miles away and you’ll never hear or see me again,” Daoud said Friday from the witness stand.
Psychiatrist Stephen N. Xenakis testified that Daoud suffers from a delusional disorder and isn’t fit for trial.
Prosecutors argue that Daoud doesn’t reach the legal threshold for being incompetent. On Friday, they pointed, in part, to Daoud’s abilities on the witness stand, during which he appeared to follow most of the judge’s guidelines.
Richart DeMier, the doctor who evaluated Daoud last spring at a federal facility in Missouri, insisted that Daoud does not suffer from a mental illness that would prevent him from helping his attorneys or grasping the ramifications of the proceedings.
DeMier dismissed much of Daoud’s outlandish behavior as an attempt to be “provocative.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2016. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)