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YOUNGSTOWN Rape suspect to get 2nd evaluation



Published: Thu, August 15, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant faces life in prison if he's convicted of any of the 25 counts of rape.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 41-year-old Himrod Avenue man wants a second opinion now that a psychologist has deemed him mentally competent to stand trial on 25 counts of rape.

William O'Neill Jr. was indicted by a Mahoning County grand jury in February.

Authorities say he forced a female relative, who was less than 13 years old, to have sex with him multiple times between September 1999 and September 2001.

The indictment accuses him of one count of rape per month over the 25 months..

It also accuses him of using force or the threat of force to make the girl submit.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment on conviction.

Judge James C. Evans of common pleas court had ordered that O'Neill be evaluated to determine whether he's mentally competent to understand the charges against him and to assist in his defense.

Test results

At a hearing Wednesday, Assistant Prosecutor Deena Calabrese said the test showed that he is competent.

O'Neill, through his attorney, Paul Conn, immediately asked for a second evaluation, which Judge Evans approved. O'Neill said he did not feel the first test was adequate to determine his mental state.

Conn said a second opinion is important because of the serious nature of the charges.

If the second evaluation shows O'Neill is not competent, Judge Evans will either order a third test or decide which of the first two to accept as correct.

O'Neill is being held in the county jail on a $500,000 bond while he awaits trial.

bjackson@vindy.com




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