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Joseph Frank Bova. (Photo by Jonathan Simmons.)
Palm Coast Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2015 4 years ago

Bova found competent to stand trial

by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

Joseph Frank Bova, the man accused of the Feb. 21, 2013 execution-style shooting of Mobil gas station clerk Zuheily Rosado, was found competent to stand trial in a July 15 competency hearing before Circuit Judge David Walsh.

“He has … the present ability to testify in an informed and self-protective manner,” psychologist Lewis Legum testified at the competency hearing.

Bova, represented by attorney Raymond M. Warren at the competency hearing, appeared at the hearing in the green and white striped jumpsuits worn by violent offenders.

Warren called Legum as a witness, asking whether it was possible that Bova, now on anti-psychotic medications for a schizophrenic disorder, could experience a deterioration that could render him incompetent.

Legum said he could. “He could be subject to an acute exacerbation that would lead to him being incompetent,” Legum said.

But after a prosecutor asked him whether Bova is competent to stand trial now, Legum said that based on a June 26 evaluation, he was.

“He’s very much aware of what he’s been charged with, both in terms of the actual name of the offense, and the substance of his reported offense,” he said.

Legum said he’d also seen recent signs of malingering. Bova clearly had a schizophrenic disorder, and staff at the Northeast Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center had found no signs of malingering when he’d stayed there, Legum said. 

But when he saw Bova in 2014, Legum said, “he was able to speak very knowledgably about the criminal justice process,” even saying he was insulted by the basic nature of some of Legum’s questions; then at a the recent evaluation, Bova “provided a number of uncertain process when he was asked these questions … I don’t think that this knowledge has evaporated.”

“Is it your opinion that this could be indicative of malingering?” the prosecutor asked.

“Yes,” Legum said. “I think he is hoping that he continues to be seen as incompetent,” so that he is sent back to a hospital until his case is dismissed. Bova had explicitly said he’d hoped for that outcome, Legum said.

But Warren said that Bova had twice, since March, decompensate under heavy medication.

That argument did not convince Walsh, who found Bova “competent to proceed as to all issues.” Bova will be scheduled for pretrial.


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