Man questions own ability to stand trial

But judge rules man accused of rape is fine

Hansen Enlarge photo

Hansen

A Durango man suspected of kidnapping and raping a woman claimed Friday he is mentally incompetent to stand trial, but a district judge wasn’t buying it.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Jeffrey Wilson said the fact that Jason Hansen raised competency issues on his own behalf suggests he is able to assist with his own defense.

Hansen wrote a letter to the judge expressing concerns about his ability to stand trial, which is scheduled for next month.

Based on what he wrote in the letter, Wilson said it seems clear that Hansen understands the role of his lawyer and is able to assist with his own defense.

In the letter, Hansen complains about his public defense lawyer and claims to hear noises and voices in his head. He said the voices talk to him and one of the noises sounds like a “huge ball of snakes.”

Hansen is suspected of forcing a woman into her apartment at knifepoint, punching her repeatedly, ordering her to cook steaks and hitting her when the steaks didn’t turn out the way he wanted them, according to an arrest affidavit.

He also ordered the woman to take a shower and then sexually assaulted her, the affidavit says.

The incident happened in April 2011 in Durango.

Hansen, 42, is charged with theft, menacing, burglary, kidnapping and sexual assault, among other offenses. He faces 10 years to life in prison if convicted of felony sexual assault.

Hansen, who is being held in the La Plata County jail on $250,000 bail, has pleaded not guilty.

During his court appearance, he had questions about how to discuss competency issues while observing his right to remain silent and not say anything that could harm his case.

Wilson ruled Hansen can’t raise competency issues on his own behalf, and he found no reason to believe Hansen is incompetent to stand trial.

“I don’t see anything in the letter that would qualify you for incompetency,” Wilson said.

shane@durangoherald.com

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