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July 17, 2013

Judge says Modesto rape suspect not mentally fit to stand trial

A judge Wednesday determined that a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Modesto’s Mancini Park last year is not mentally healthy to stand trial.

A judge Wednesday determined that a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Modesto’s Mancini Park last year is not mentally healthy to stand trial.

Investigators have said Stephaughn Darrell Meux attacked the woman in broad daylight in front of her two young children.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Linda McFadden based her ruling on a report from forensic psychologist Phil Trompetter, who conducted Meux’s mental health evaluation.

The judge said the psychologist determined that Meux is not capable of assisting his attorney in his defense. Trompetter recommended that the defendant be given psychotropic medication to regain his mental competency.

McFadden scheduled Meux to return to court Aug. 14 to determine which medical facility he will be sent to for treatment. Until then, Meux remains in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail.

Meux, 28, has been charged with rape and a misdemeanor count of inflicting injury upon a child. He was booked at the jail under an alias, John Lelan Carter.

A June 26 preliminary hearing for the defendant was canceled and the case was suspended when Meux’s mental competency came into question.

The sexual assault occurred about 2:40 p.m. Oct. 18 at the park, just south of the Tuolumne River and east of South Ninth Street. Modesto police officers arrived and learned that the woman, who was with her children, ages 1 and 8, had been attacked by a stranger.

Investigators have said the man approached the woman, punched her in the face and pulled her to the ground.

She was holding her 1-year-old child in her arms at the time, and the man’s attack caused the child to fall to the ground. Once on the ground, the man sexually assaulted the woman, police have said.

Another woman witnessed the assault and quickly grabbed the two children before running to get help. Investigators collected physical evidence, including the attacker’s DNA, police said.

Authorities have said Meux is a transient, and his last known address was in Fresno.

Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at rahumada@modbee.com or (209)578-2394. Follow him on Twitter @ModBeeCourts.

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