July 1, 2016

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Man remains unable to stand trial, judge says

MEDINA — Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler dismissed charges against a Burbank man Thursday after finding him incompetent to stand trial for the fourth time since 1996.

Prosecutors are seeking to put 40-year-old Eugene A. Riffle in a mental institution.

Eugene Riffle

Riffle was accused of stealing a Lodi man’s pickup less than a week after a judge found Riffle incompetent on another stolen vehicle charge.

County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Razavi said he planned to file an affidavit of civil commitment in county Probate Court this afternoon. If granted, it would result in Riffle sent to a mental institution for an undetermined period of time.

Police reported Riffle stole a pickup from Wooster in September and drove it to Lodi, where he was caught on security cameras pacing in and out of a Circle K store and trying to start a chainsaw in the parking lot.

Police said Riffle steals vehicles to get “from Point A to Point B” and then goes about his business.

Doctors from the Psycho-Diagnostic Clinic of Akron have said Riffle has severe, permanent cognitive impairments. In 2011, he was sent to Akron’s Haven of Rest Ministries, a rehabilitation center, after successfully pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

Riffle has had at least nine felony cases in two decades in Medina and Wayne counties since 1996 — including charges of vehicle theft, receiving stolen motor vehicles, aggravated vehicular assault, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, breaking and entering, and stealing checks.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.