Man accused of grabbing Hamilton girl pleads not guilty by reason of insanity

A Hamilton man charged with multiple crimes for allegedly grabbing a 6-year-old girl as she took the trash to the curb outside her family’s home last summer has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Deric Nicholas McPherson, 34, was arrested in late August and indicted by a Butler County grand jury for kidnapping, abduction and gross sexual imposition and unlawful restraint.

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McPherson has been held in the Butler County Jail in lieu of a $75,000 bond since his arrest.

Defense attorney Monika Roth filed a motion in September questioning McPherson’s ability to stand trial, and he received two forensic psychological evaluations before Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster Jr. declared him competent.

On Monday, a third evaluation was ordered by the judge after Roth filed a not guilty by reason of insanity plea for McPherson. He is scheduled to be back in court April 24 for hearing on the result of that evaluation.

Roth did not give a reason for the insanity plea that was filed last week, seven months after McPherson was indicted.

While competency for trial and an insanity plea are often evaluated at the same time, by law different factors are considered in the evaluations.

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A question of competency for trial means the defendant does not understand the court proceedings and is unable to assist in his own defense.

An insanity plea means the defendant at the time of the offense did not know, as a result of a severe mental disease or defect, the wrongfulness of their actions.

On Aug. 23, the girl escaped by screaming and running, which was captured by the family’s doorbell camera.

According to the Hamilton police report, McPherson was walking past the girl on East Avenue when he bent down and grabbed her buttocks. The girl attempted to move away and he then grabbed her wrist “alongside the sidewalk.”

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