Questions re-emerged Tuesday about the mental fitness of a man accused of repeatedly raping a paralyzed woman for days beneath a Colorado Springs bridge — again stalling his case and leaving a pending plea deal in limbo.
Isaiah Perrin, 24, was ordered to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo for a mental competency evaluation after his public defender, Michele Newell, questioned his ability to understand court proceedings, because he had stopped taking his medication at the El Paso County jail.
When 4th Judicial District Judge Thomas Kane asked Perrin why he stopped taking his medication, Perrin said: “I was told I didn’t have to.”
Appearing at the hearing in an orange jail jumpsuit, Perrin spoke softly and agreed to the evaluation without any objections.
Such evaluations examine whether a defendant understands court proceedings and can assist in his defense.
After the evaluation, it is up to Kane to rule on whether Perrin is mentally competent to proceed. If not, the case will be put on hold indefinitely while he is treated at the Pueblo hospital.
The move put an abrupt halt to plans to announce a plea deal Tuesday in the nearly 3-year-old case. Newell told Kane two weeks ago that both sides had agreed to a deal, but they needed more time to finalize the paperwork.
Police suspect Perrin threw a homeless woman from a makeshift shelter perched between two bridge supports in May 2016 and repeatedly raped her for days at the spot where she landed.
The woman couldn’t escape because her legs were paralyzed from the plunge off the Cimarron Street bridge over Conejos Street, south of America the Beautiful Park, according to Perrin’s arrest affidavit. A passerby found her three days later, ending the ordeal.
Perrin, who also was homeless, initially denied pushing the woman and said other men raped her, but he later admitted to engaging in oral sex, court documents show.
Perrin’s mental fitness has been repeatedly questioned since his arrest shortly after the woman was found.
He previously spent about a year at the Pueblo hospital, receiving treatment to be restored to competency, Newell said. His previous diagnosis was not discussed in court Tuesday, and court records that might shed light on his mental condition are either sealed or redacted.
Perrin is due back in court May 13.