Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Status hearing for teen accused of killing Lucia Bremer

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) – Dylan Williams, the teen charged with killing 15-year-old Lucia Bremer, appeared in court Tuesday and had his status hearing postponed. The teen was scheduled to be on trial this week, but a judge ordered him to undergo a neuropsychological evaluation.

Wiliams’ mental health has always been a concern in this trial. Last year, a psychologist testified he needs help mentally for the trauma he may have experienced as a child to see if and how it impacted his mental condition at the time of Bremer’s death.

Back in June, the prosecution and the defense agreed to delay the trial, so Williams could undergo that neuropsychological evaluation that was supposed to happen following his appearance in court Tuesday, which is why the status hearing was pushed back for another six weeks.

Legal analyst Steve Benjamin says the psych evaluation is permissible due to a new state law passed last year. It allows evidence of a defendant’s mental condition at the time of a crime to be admissible in court.

“This evaluation permits the parties to scientifically explore evidence that this person may, in fact, not fill the criteria necessary for a conviction. It better enables us to determine the truth of this accusation,” Benjamin said.

Before the law was passed, Benjamin said a mental health evaluation was strictly binary.

“Until this law was passed, unless you were insane, Virginia law did not permit you to put on evidence that you suffered from a developmental disability or intellectual disability, that you were on the autism spectrum or that you had a mental health condition, and your ability to form the necessary criminal intent. Now, you can,” Benjamin said.

Williams faces a total of six charges in connection to Bremer’s death, including second-degree murder, possession of a firearm and use of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

But Benjamin says the findings of this psyche evaluation could make a huge difference in the severity of a crime Williams or any individual could be convicted of.

“Sometimes, the seriousness of criminal conduct varies with the level of intent a person has,” Benjamin said. “If that impairs an individual’s ability to form the necessary criminal intent, then that’s something that has to be taken into account to determine whether a person is guilty.”

In December, the decision was made to try Williams as an adult, though he is currently being held at the Henrico Juvenile Detention Center.

Bremer was killed in March 2021 after she and a friend walked in the neighborhood near Godwin High School.

Police say Williams approached them and fatally shot the 13-year-old.

A new status hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 24 at 8:45 a.m.

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Mental Health