By Vanessa Miller, Camera staff writer
Posted: 03/03/2010 04:06:22 PM MST
A mental health doctor has found no evidence showing that a former University of Colorado student arrested last year on suspicion of taping her boyfriend’s dog to a fridge had an “impaired mental condition” at the time that would excuse her behavior.
Boulder County District Court Judge Maria Berkenkotter allowed Abby Toll, 20, in December to enter a plea that she suffered from an impaired mental condition but ordered a mental health evaluation before Toll’s case goes to trial April 12.
After reviewing a Colorado Institute of Mental Health doctor’s findings that Toll didn’t have an impaired mental condition, Deputy District Attorney David Cheval filed a motion asking to endorse the doctor as an expert witness at trial.
Toll — who posted a $12,500 bond after her April 14 arrest and now lives in Chicago — was a CU student in 2008 but is no longer enrolled at the university. Her felony animal-cruelty trial was supposed to begin in December, but a judge postponed the trial until April after the District Attorney’s Office amended some of the additional charges against her.
Toll is accused of binding her boyfriend’s 2-year-old shiba inu, Rex, in hair bands and packing tape and sticking him upside-down to a refrigerator during a fight. Her boyfriend, Bryan Beck, also was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty.
Beck pleaded guilty in July and was given a one-year deferred sentence and 50 hours of community service. One of the conditions of Beck’s sentence prohibits him from having contact with Toll or his former dog — which has been adopted by another family.
Toll’s defense attorney, George Kokus, has argued that his client should be allowed to use the defense that she had an impaired mental condition at trial because she was an “ongoing victim of domestic violence,” putting her in a mental state that either justifies, excuses or mitigates her actions.
For someone to plead an impaired mental condition means, in essence, that the person admits to doing the criminal act but was incapable of knowing what he or she was doing at the time of an alleged crime, according to Cheval, the case’s prosecutor.
photo: Boulder police found Rex, an 8-month-old shiba inu, taped to a refrigerator on April 14, 2009. The dog is pictured in his cage at the Humane Society of Boulder County. Photo by Paul Aiken / The Camera ( PAUL AIKEN )
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