FORT SMITH, Ark. – A man charged with threatening to assassinate President Bush because of U.S. military action in Afghanistan has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Ahmad Dost, 35, was indicted May 3, 2006, by a federal grand jury for "threats against the president and successors to the presidency."
After a one-day bench trial on Wednesday, Dost was committed to federal custody for treatment and further evaluation, U.S. District Court records show.
Several witnesses had told authorities that Dost said he planned to assassinate Bush. Authorities said Dost made the comments to four other job applicants during an orientation for USA Truck at a Fort Smith hotel in April 2006. A company employee alerted the FBI.
A court-ordered mental evaluation in August 2006 found Dost was incompetent to stand trial. Dost was committed to a federal medical center for treatment in February 2007. He was evaluated again in July and found competent to stand trial.
Three days before the Oct. 22 trial date, Dost's attorney filed a notice of insanity defense. Dost was examined again, and the latest evaluation, filed in December, found him to be insane at the time of the alleged offense.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers stipulated during trial that Dost had been found insane. A Bureau of Prisons report said Dost "suffered a mental disease or defect, paranoid schizophrenia, such that he was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his actions."
The report said Dost had symptoms that he is psychotic — such as disorganized thinking and paranoid delusions. The report also said Dost "described a desolate lifestyle" that could be characteristic of undiagnosed mental illness.
U.S. District Judge Robert T. Dawson ordered Dost to be committed to federal custody, hospitalized for treatment for up to 40 days and re-examined to determine if his release would pose a risk to other people or their property attributable to a present mental illness.
Dost is to have a hearing on the re-examination on March 24.
In the stipulation, lawyers noted that Dost "is properly medicated and therefore has a sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer" and understand the proceedings against him. The filing says Dost understood that he could spend more time locked up for his mental problems than he would if he had been sentenced to the maximum of 5 years in prison for the offense.
"Mr. Dost could be in custody for medical treatment for the rest of his life," the filing states.