Summary:

Paragraph 7 reads: "Boyd says Skeen has been taking depression medication, prescribed by a psychologist. While he's in the Blount County jail, in lockdown and isolation 23 hours a day, he's off his medication. Boyd says he'll file a motion to ask that Skeen be allowed to take his prescription again".

http://www.wbir.com/News/news.asp?ID=12745

AARON SKEEN IN COURT It was a two minute court appearance Wednesday afternoon for Aaron Skeen, the man accused of raping, kidnapping, and killing 25 year old Sandy Jeffers. Skeen said nothing, but after the appearance, his attorney hinted at a possible defense: mental illness.

Blount County General Sessions Judge William Brewer never addressed Aaron Skeen. Instead, he asked his court-appointed attorney, David Boyd, if his client was aware of what was going on.

"Mr. Boyd, you've advised Mr. Skeen that the purpose of today is to set a preliminary hearing?" the judge asked.

The 20 year old Skeen was in and out of the courtroom in moments. The judge simply set June 5 as the date for his next hearing.

When things were over, Boyd spoke with reporters.

"Obviously if the state's case is anywhere near what they've talked about in print media and on television, then I believe it's obvious to anyone that my client has got some problems, problems in a mental capacity," Boyd said. "If he did what the state alleges, then I don't think it takes a psychologist or psychiatrist to say my client, Aaron Skeen, 20 years old, has got some serious mental problems."

Boyd says Skeen has been taking depression medication, prescribed by a psychologist. While he's in the Blount County jail, in lockdown and isolation 23 hours a day, he's off his medication. Boyd says he'll file a motion to ask that Skeen be allowed to take his prescription again.

He says his client's alleged websites, which mention suicidal thoughts and songs about rape, illustrate that Skeen has problems.

"My client's depressed, he's upset. He's in a state of shock about what's going on. He doesn't fully, in my opinion, understand what's next," Boyd said. "He's having a hard time comprehending it. He's scared, frankly."

About the arrest warrants, which say Skeen admitted to breaking in, raping, and kidnapping Jeffers, his attorney says he's not sure the alleged confession can be used in court. He says Aaron Skeen may not have understood what he was saying could be used against him.

Judge Brewer appointed Boyd to handle Skeen's case. The public defender's office would normally be used, but the judge said they have a conflict of interest. Boyd says the "key witness" has been a client of the public defender's office before.

The Blount County District Attorney's office did not comment on the case.
5/14/2003 4:39:39 PM
Reporter: Teresa Woodard
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