Man accused of elderly rape in Middletown incompetent for trial

A 71-year-old man charged with rape in an incident in a Middletown assisted care facility has been declared incompetent to stand trial.

Gary Eugene Earls was arrested by Middletown 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 in December and has been held in the Butler County Jail after common pleas Judge Jennifer McElfresh set his bond at $100,000.

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.

Following a forensic psychological evaluation of Earls, the court declared him incompetent to stand trial and not restorable to sanity through treatment to stand trial in the future.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Kelly Heile said Earls has a diagnosis of dementia.

A hearing will be held later this month to determine if Earls is guilty of the crimes he is charged with and what steps to take if he is found guilty.

“At the hearing … the state intends to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant committed the offense with which he is charged and that he is a mentally ill person and/or a person with intellectual disability subject to institutionalization by court order,” Heile wrote in a motion filed Friday.

The hearing is scheduled for March 26.

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 be a result of the assault, said Middletown Police Major Scott Reeve.

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