Created: 08/12/2014 9:51 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
We have done story after story on how Albuquerque police repeatedly arrest mentally ill people for crimes – often violent crimes – only to find them out on the streets a few days later, deemed incompetent to stand trial. This summer we’re following the case of a woman who says a homeless man is stalking and threatening her family.
Shayne Lewis is facing an assault charge for threatening to kill Elizabeth Sacco’s teenage daughter – but Elizabeth has just learned that he was recently in court on an unrelated shoplifting charge, and judge ruled him incompetent to stand trial. Case dismissed. That’s been the story time after time for Lewis, who gets arrested and then gets cut loose.
Elizabeth is now worried about the much more serious violent crime charge of assault he now faces for following her daughter onto a city bus and threatening to kill her in front of her mother.
“Because he’s being deemed incompetent, does that mean he doesn’t understand anything, or is he just incompetent about shoplifting? My worries, my fears are – what about my child? What about my child,” asked Elizabeth.
Elizabeth says Shayne Lewis has confronted her at least 15 times, frequently threatening to kill her.
“We have a man who is threatening my life – threatening my child’s life. He has assaulted my child and we’re not doing anything about it. It’s okay. Even if he kills my child, will that also be dismissed?”
Elizabeth says she has a restraining order against Lewis, but she wonders if he’s competent to understand what it means.
Ironically, this all started last winter when Elizabeth says she found Lewis in the snow, screaming incoherently. She called the police, asking for a health and welfare check on him. She was trying to help. Lewis has a court date – a bench trial – scheduled for tomorrow on the assault charge. We plan to be there.