Murder suspect Ammaad Chase-El ordered to continue mental evaluation

One of three men charged with the alleged murder of Antonio Ayala a year ago was ordered by a judge to continue psychiatric treatment and testing at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

Ammaad Chase-El was arrested April 9, 2015 and charged with the murder of 34-year-old Antonio Ayala. According to police, Ayala was killed in a robbery gone wrong.

Chase-El has been going through mental examinations and competency retention programs at St. Elizabeth’s, and a previous mental observation hearing was also focused on his declining mental health.

A report relayed to the court from the hospital said Chase-El was experiencing a decline in competency and that the option of psychotropic medication (anti-depressants) was made voluntary. Doctors working with Chase-El urged the judge to make the medication mandatory because Chase El “will not regain mental state without it.”

Chase-El’s lawyer argued against the implementing of mandatory drugs until he received a definitive report that stated the drugs would ensure the recovery of Chase-El. The lawyer continued and stated that depression and cognitive function are two separate issues. The judge agreed and declined to make the drugs mandatory, and preferred to wait to see if Chase-El made any improvement in the next testing.

Due to Chase-El’s mental state, his mother and father came up from the audience to speak on his behalf. Chase El’s parents said they visit him at St. Elizabeth on a weekly basis and have seen first hand how the tests are being done. Both expressed dissatisfaction with the tests. Chase-El’s mother told about an instance she witnessed where one of the examiners raising their voice to Chase-El saying “Ammaad, why don’t you understand?”

The court decided to meet in another 30 days to allow Chase-El another month of mental tests. The judge urged Chase-El to put in his best effort when being tested at St. Elizabeth so the doctors can report accurate findings and the trial can progress past the mental observation hearings. Chase-El responded with his only words of the hearing and replied, “I do…my best.”

In addition to Chase-El, Javonte Odom and Herman Odom have also been charged in the case. Javonte Odom is due next in court on May 19, and Herman Odom is due back in court July 29.


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