September 19, 2014

Medina
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Accused bank robber’s competency to be decided

MEDINA — The family of Hugh Crouch, who was charged with robbing a bank in February, will bring him before a judge next week to get a final ruling on whether he is competent to stand trial.

At a hearing Thursday, Crouch’s attorney, Bob Campbell, said independent evaluations showed Crouch is not competent to stand trial, but prosecutors would like him to appear in court.

Hugh Crouch

Hugh Crouch

“No one has said he can’t be here,” county Assistant Prosecutor Matt Razavi said. “I would like him to be here for the formality of it.”

The ailing 71-year-old is at his Ridge Road home in Hinckley Township, on house arrest, which has been expensive and difficult for his family, Campbell said.

Couch suffers from dementia, liver disease and other ailments. In June, Crouch was released from the Medina County Jail so his daughter, a nurse’s aide, could care for him at home.

On Thursday, Campbell said Crouch’s appearance should prove to the court that he is, in fact, incompetent to stand trial.

“We can’t even do a normal competency evaluation because he’s not at the point where we can communicate,” Campbell told the court.

After the hearing, Campbell said it will be difficult for Crouch’s family to get him into a wheelchair and into court, but should end any doubts about his competency.

“I think it will bring the question of whether he’s competent to stand trial to an end,” Campbell said.

Charges against Crouch would be dropped if he’s found incompetent, but he could remain under the judge’s jurisdiction for up to 11 years. If he improved during that time, charges could be revisited.

If convicted, he could face more than 20 years in prison.

Crouch is charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony; felonious assault, a second-degree felony; failure to obey a police officer, a third-degree felony; and possession of criminal tools, a fourth-degree felony.

According to police, Crouch robbed the Huntington Bank at 3630 Center Road in Brunswick and then led authorities on a high-speed chase into Medina. During the chase, he struck a police cruiser on North Court Street before the chase ended in Montville Township.

Court documents show he got away with about $30,000 in cash. Crouch is scheduled to appear in Judge James L. Kimbler’s courtroom at 10 a.m. Jan. 17.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 ­or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.