Federal judge to hear motion on Ashley Hall suspect Alice Boland’s psychiatric treatment
The Beaufort woman charged with trying to shoot Ashley Hall school officials will appear in federal court later this month as a judge considers a recommendation for her psychiatric treatment.
A federal magistrate had sent Alice Boland, 29, to Federal Medical Center Butner in North Carolina, where she was expected to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. But federal prison records indicated that she was instead sent to Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, where she remained Thursday.
It was the second time Boland had been subjected to such testing. After she was accused of threatening to shoot the president in 2005, federal prison doctors deemed her mentally incompetent.
Such an evaluation typically determines whether defendants were aware of their own actions, can understand the charges levied against them and could participate in a criminal trial.
A report on her most recent evaluation was filed May 31, but the document is sealed from public view. Boland’s public defender, Ann Walsh, on Tuesday requested a hearing to address the psychiatric report. Walsh’s motion also is sealed.
The hearing is scheduled for June 24 in front of U.S. District Judge Sol Blatt Jr. in downtown Charleston. Boland is expected to appear in person, and Walsh said Thursday that the proceeding should be open to the public. Walsh refused to further discuss the motion.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Kittrell, the case prosecutor, cited the open case and Boland’s privacy when he also declined to comment.
Boland has pleaded not guilty to four federal charges in connection with the Feb. 4 incident outside the all-girls private school in downtown Charleston. Among the counts is the illegal possession of a firearm because of her status as someone who had been deemed mentally incompetent.
The 2005 charge that resulted in a federal judge’s ruling on her mental status was later dropped. The psychiatric report in that case, which is not sealed, indicated that experts had her forcibly treated for schizophrenia.
Boland’s parents, Donald and Delann Boland of Lady’s Island, objected to her treatment regime that included anti-psychotic drugs. They instead argued for more natural or nutritional methods.
In the episode this year, authorities alleged that she bought a .22-caliber pistol in Walterboro, then showed up with it days later at Ashley Hall. She pointed it at a school administrator and pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire because she had not loaded a round into its chamber.
Boland also faces five state charges, including attempted murder.
Her story garnered national attention and inspired legislation in Columbia and Washington to bolster laws pertaining to the mentally ill and firearms.
While a federal measure failed, state lawmakers and Gov. Nikki Haley approved a bill that will create a database of people ruled to be mentally ill. It’s designed to halt them from buying a gun from a retailer.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.