Sanity question arises in Chemical Bank case

By Jason Hawk -

Adam Carson’s sanity has been called into question as his bank robbery trial nears.

Court-appointed defense attorney Donald Butler has asked for a psychological evaluation for Carson, 35, who is accused of threatening a teller in November at Chemical Bank in Amherst and making off with $5,590.

The motion was filed in U.S. District Court in Cleveland, where Carson faces a federal charge stemming from an FBI investigation of the Nov. 21 robbery on Cooper Foster Park Road.

It reiterates that the suspect has tried to oust Butler as his lawyer and wants to represent himself. A mental evaluation will show whether Carson is capable of providing his own defense.

According to Butler’s filing, “there is a strong basis to believe that the defendant may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him” or to assist in his defense.

Carson was arrested on Thanksgiving in Cuyahoga County, where in an unrelated case he was charged with grand theft auto by Olmsted Falls police and later pleaded guilty. He has also pleaded guilty to other bank and convenience store robberies in recent years.

Earlier this month, court documents were filed indicating a plea deal was in the works and asking for a referral for how Carson’s prior convictions could potentially affect sentencing in the Chemical Bank case.

Carson maintains his innocence. “I didn’t commit this crime, I was nowhere near the robbery scene, and have an alibi witness,” he wrote in a letter to Judge Donald Nugent, asking for Butler to be removed as his attorney.

“I am fighting to proclaim my innocence and my attorney is doing absolutely nothing on my behalf,” one filing said.

A hearing in the case has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 11.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk