HAMILTON, Ohio – A mentally retarded man accused of strangling his autistic roommate at a group home will not face prison time because a judge ruled Thursday he is incompetent to stand trial on a murder charge.
Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth said the case has been tragic for both families. He noted that Edward Shuman, 20, had a troubled childhood of emotional problems, physical abuse and illness.
"What makes it so sad is that Mr. Shuman has no appreciation of what he did or of the severity of the offense," the judge said.
Probate court will determine a plan for Shuman's long-term care in a state facility for mentally retarded people, prosecutor Craig Hedric said, adding that Shuman's explosive behavior disorder and other disabilities make it likely he will be institutionalized permanently.
Shuman, who waved and smiled at his adoptive parents while in court Thursday, is being held at Columbus Developmental Center. Two court-ordered competency evaluations found he was unable to assist in his defense and functions at the level of a 5-year-old.
Authorities said Shuman has an IQ of 42 and is severely mentally retarded.
Investigators say he used a belt to strangle Joseph Beaudoin, 50, and held him to the floor with his foot on Feb. 21 at the group home where they lived.
Beaudoin's brother Jack said the family expected the outcome and thought it was probably best for Shuman and his family.
"He will be where he can be monitored and this won't happen to anybody else," Jack Beaudoin said. "This is probably Teddy's best outcome right here, because he is not going to get shoved from place to place anymore. That's pretty much what his whole life's been like."
Thom and Bonnie Shuman, who adopted Edward Shuman when he was 18 months old, said they are grateful for the family's understanding.
The state has found that the privately run facility where the men lived lacked sufficient monitoring and safeguards, and has ordered its operators to make improvements before it can accept new clients.