Competency hearing rescheduled for rape suspect

A competency evaluation hearing for a 71-year-old man charged with rape in an incident at a Middletown assisted care facility was pushed back to next month.

Gary Eugene Earls was arrested by police after the November incident at Close to Home on Roosevelt Boulevard. He was indicted by a Butler County grand jury on two counts of rape last month. Common Pleas Judge Jennifer McElfresh set his bond at $100,000.

Earls was in McElfresh’s courtroom today for an competency evaluation hearing, but it was rescheduled until Feb. 8 because his medical records had not yet been obtained.

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In December, defense attorney Dennis Adams filed a motion suggesting Earls is incompetent to stand trial and requested an evaluation.

“Counsel has reason to believe that defendant may have a mental disease or defect that makes him unable to fully comprehend the proceedings in this court at this time, and/or is unable to assist counsel in preparation and defense of his case,” Adams wrote in the motion.

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Officers were called to the facility on Nov. 17 by a staff member who said there was a female resident screaming.

The worker thought the woman had fallen, but when she went into the room, she saw Earls, also a resident at the facility, on top of the woman, according to the police report. Both were naked.

A medical squad transported the woman to Atrium Medical Center, where an examination was performed and a rape kit was completed. The alleged victim has died, but her death is not believed to result of the assault, said Middletown Police Lt. Scott Reeve.

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