TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An attorney for Ralph Bouzy, 28, entered a plea of not guilty on Monday to three counts of attempted murder on a law enforcement officer.
Bouzy was accused of intentionally ramming his car into Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputies, giving them serious injuries. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said a third deputy was able to avoid Bouzy’s car during the same incident.
Bouzy’s mother had called 911 the morning of the incident to report he was acting violently.
When deputies responded, Bousey turned his car toward them, seriously injuring Corporal Carlos Brito and Deputy Manny Santos.
Bouzy did not appear in court on Monday, but his attorneys say he is not mentally competent to participate in his legal defense.
Bouzy’s mother says she tried several times to get him mental health help but was not successful.
Tampa Attorney Bryant Camareno has handled many high-profile cases but is not involved in this trial. Camareno said the process to have a defendant declared legally incompetent to stand trial can be a long one.
“We start with one doctor, and if the Doctor comes back that he’s incompetent, then the state will usually request a second opinion,” Camareno said. “If he’s incompetent then they will usually send him to a state hospital for competency restoration.”
He said the process to restore competency can involve medication and counseling. Then the defendant may be ordered to stand trial.
“If he’s competent and declared competent, then insanity may be the next option,” said Camareno, who points out an insanity defense is not often successful in Florida. “Ultimately if they move for an insanity defense, the jury would have to believe he was insane at the time he committed the offense, and again, that’s different from competency, that he didn’t know the difference between right at wrong, and if the jury doesn’t buy it, he could be found guilty.”
A judge ordered Bouzy to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. A new hearing date has been set for December.