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Suspect ruled incompetent for trial in rape, kidnapping case
Steven Areizaga
Steven Areizaga

A man facing rape, kidnapping and aggravated sodomy charges among others was ruled to be mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Steven Areizaga, 31, was the subject of a hearing Friday, Aug. 24, before Hall County Superior Court Judge Kathlene Gosselin.

Oakwood Police Chief Randall Moon said investigators believe Areizaga held a woman against her will for about 12 hours in August 2016. Officers responded after 6 p.m. Aug. 28, 2016, to the Audubon Crest Apartments on Lanier Mill Circle in Oakwood, where they said he held a woman against her will.

Police alleged the man also used a knife to menace two officers early in a two-hour chase before being detained behind First Baptist Church of Oakwood.

Areizaga’s attorney, Anna Szatkowski, said he “was found to still be incompetent,” but she did not answer follow-up questions sent via email or calls for comment from The Times.

The order had not yet been signed by Gosselin as of 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.

Areizaga was previously ruled to be mentally incompetent to stand trial in July 2017, though the psychologist at that time thought he should be able to become competent within a reasonable period of time.

Competency to stand trial concerns a defendant’s ability to effectively assist in defending themselves at trial and understanding the court proceedings.

According to court documents from Areizaga’s first finding of mental incompetency, the doctor ruled he had “significant deficit in his decisional competence” but had adequate communicative skills to work with his attorney.

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