A Douglas County Jail inmate who was ordered to be moved to the Oregon State Hospital for a psychological evaluation cannot go there because the hospital is overrun with COVID-19 cases.

Tyrone Powell, who faces charges he stole 30 acres of land from an Elkton woman, remains in limbo due to the outbreak at the state hospital, the judge presiding over the case said in court Wednesday.

“The state hospital has stopped taking admissions because of a COVID outbreak,” Douglas County Circuit Court Judge William Marshall said.

Powell, 41, was arrested on Feb. 26 and charged with five felonies, including aggravated theft, identity theft and perjury, in connection with the purported theft of 30 acres from an Elkton woman named. He was also charged with initiating a false report, a misdemeanor.

A trial date was set for Dec. 7. But on Nov. 15, Powell did not show up for a pre-trial hearing and Marshall issued a warrant for his arrest. Powell was arrested in Portland on Nov. 23 and transported to the Douglas County Jail, with bail set at $500,000.

Two more charges — felony and misdemeanor failure to appear — were added for missing the hearing.

Powell was ordered to be examined at Oregon State Hospital to determine if he is fit to stand trial.

Since he has been in jail Powell has been uncommunicative, laying in his bunk bed, mostly with his face pinned to the wall, not speaking to guards, other inmates or his attorneys.

When he has appeared for court hearings via video, he has not moved or responded to questions from the judge.

On Wednesday, Powell again appeared in court via video. This time he was facing the camera, but kept his eyes closed and did not move or respond to questions from Marshall.

Marshall has scheduled weekly update hearings to keep track of the status of the case. The next hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12.

“Hopefully at that time he’ll be in the hospital,” Marshall said.

Those who know Powell, including law enforcement officers who have investigated him, say he is a master manipulator who in the past has faked illnesses, both mental and physical, to get out of trouble.

Scott Carroll can be reached at scarroll@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow him on Twitter @scottcarroll15.

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(5) comments

Mike

Not a problem. It will be part of his "time served."

NJ

A good question on this issue is, if the hospital is shut down because of the pandemic is it possible for an evaluation team be loaned out to the court? Otherwise Powell will remain in jail until he can be evaluated in Salem. It's all a matter of time. The State's 161.317 law defines the process and determines the outcome. Powell can bide his time, but he can't escape prosecution by using this "self-induced frontal lobotomy" behavior.

If psychologists and psychiatrists can't evaluate him until such a time as he reaches the state hospital, he sits without moving forward perhaps believing that any ultimate incarceration would be better spent in a hospital environment than in general population at the state pen.

He'd be wrong. The law states that ultimately he would only be in a hospital environment for 3 years unless the judge decides to drop charges. I would encourage the judge to not take this option since Powell certainly had clarity in his decision to commit fraud and honed his M.O. over time in order to attempt it here.

Here's the law in bullet form, easy to read and see that no matter how long Powell decides to waste the justice system's time, he's only avoiding an unfortunate outcome. Okay Powell. Play your game, we'll wait: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/OSH/LEGAL/Pages/Aid-Assist-Orders.aspx

Nurse Bishop

It's because certain people are not subject to the laws of the United States because of stuff that happined 200 years ago.

mynamehere

This guy has no value to society. He's a career criminal who cannot be rehabilitated.

Micah Darko

Yeah! Lets just put him down! He was polluting the gene pool anyway and DT really won the election and he was anointed by God! There is a reason you just get to make comments and not decisions! TG![sneaky]

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