HomeCrimeSuspect in attack of lawmaker to undergo mental evaluation

Suspect in attack of lawmaker to undergo mental evaluation

The man accused of attacking Muslim American State Rep Maryam Khan outside a prayer service has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, reports the Hartford Courant.

Andrey Desmond stood before the judge as Khan faced him for the first time in the courtroom.

He could get 56 years in prison on charges of attempted sexual assault, strangulation and three counts of risk to injury to a child.

“It’s a painful process,” Khan said outside the court to reporters from News12 and other outlets. “It’s been a painful and traumatic process for my family and I.”

Court records indicate Desmond is accused of making sexual advances towards Khan and her daughter. Police say he then slapped the legislator and put her in a chokehold.

Authorities do not believe Desmond was motivated by her religion and have declined to press hate crime charges.

Khan’s attorney suspects Desmond will be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

“His lawyer believes he doesn’t understand the proceedings – that he just doesn’t have the awareness and capacity to understand that he’s in a courtroom, that he understands he has a lawyer, that he understands what a judge is,” said Aaron Romano, Khan’s attorney, to NBC Connecticut. “So now he’s going to a hospital for evaluation because there’s a belief that he currently cannot stand trial.”

The New York Times reported that Desmond’s mother had warned that her son was unstable just two days before the attack, but claimed her warnings went ignored.

“Our mental health system in this country is very broken,” said Khan. “It has encouraged me to really look at our system in Connecticut and to make sure that we’re doing the best we can to support those that need it, so that others are not in danger.”

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