Competency issue raised in Vegas teen-teacher attack case

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A defense attorney raised doubt Tuesday about the competence of a 16-year-old student to face sex assault and attempted murder charges in a violent after-school attack that left a Las Vegas high school teacher injured and unconscious in her classroom last week.

A local judge confirmed with the teen’s lawyer and a prosecutor that state law calls for him to be prosecuted as an adult if the case moves forward on those charges and others including first-degree kidnapping, which could put him in prison for the rest of his life.

Defense attorney Paul Adras told the Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure he’ll seek a mental evaluation for his client ahead of a May 6 competency hearing in state court.

The Associated Press is not naming the teen, pending a competency determination. He is being held as an adult on a $500,000 bail at the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas.

Additional charges including more counts of sexual assault and battery by strangulation were added Monday, bringing to 15 the number of felonies he faces. He has not been asked to enter a plea.

Las Vegas police said the student entered the female teacher’s classroom at Eldorado High School after school on Thursday “to talk about his grades” before punching and choking her until she lost consciousness.

Officials said the teacher was hospitalized. Neither her name or the extent of her injuries were immediately made public.

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