Court: Teen accused in Edinburg stabbing ‘unrestorably incompetent’

Samual Jacob Homer

WOODSTOCK – An Edinburg teen accused of stabbing a mother and her daughters in May 2017 cannot stand trial for his charges, a court has ruled.

The Northwestern Community Services Board in Front Royal and a retained psychologist concluded through testing earlier this summer that Samual Jacob Homer remains “unrestorably incompetent.” An order signed by Judge Clark A. Ritchie dated Sept. 26 noted that Homer has an intellectual disability and needs training and rehabilitation.

Homer appeared in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Wednesday with his attorney Peter McDermott, with the public defender’s office. Woodstock attorney Michael Araj, appointed by the court to serve as Homer’s guardian through the civil commitment process, also appeared with the defendant.

McDermott and Araj advised Ritchie that neither attorney had received a report on whether or not Homer could enter a training center for treatment. Ritchie continued the case to Oct. 31 for further review.

Homer, 19, of Edinburg, stands charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding and five counts of possession of child pornography. Authorities accused Homer of attacking a woman and her two young daughters on May 18, 2017. A grand jury indicted Homer on the five felonies on Oct. 11, 2017. A grand jury indicted Homer on the child pornography charges on July 12, 2017.

Ritchie’s Sept. 26 order states that the appropriate disposition in Homer’s case is that the defendant be committed pending the approval of the training center under the state code section. Ritchie ordered the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services as well as Northwestern Community Services to evaluate Homer to determine the suitability of Homer’s admission into the training center. The judge found that Homer required emergency admission to the training center.

State code allows the court to certify anyone with an intellectual disability for admission into a training center through the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services when he or she cannot request admission voluntarily. Certification allows a parent, guardian or other responsible person to admit the defendant to a training center. Certification does not mean the court orders a judicial commitment for involuntary admission, the code states. The section outlines the procedure used to determine a defendant’s eligibility for admission.

McDermott said at a hearing in the court last year before then Judge Dennis L. Hupp that a competency examination showed Homer has an IQ in the low 50s and that the defendant is not competent to stand trial. However, the exam did indicate his competency might be restorable. At that time, McDermott asked the court to order competency restoration services to begin on an outpatient-basis while incarcerated at Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren Regional Jail through the Northwestern Community Services Board.

Hupp found Homer not competent to stand trial. Homer was ordered to undergo treatment to restore his competency.