A superior court judge on Tuesday suspended criminal proceedings against Ryan Lee Raper until psychiatrists determine whether he is mentally competent to stand trial for the murder of Berkeley transient Kevin Lee Freeman.
Raper, 20, of Calavaras County, was charged with one count of murder for the May 9 slaying of Freeman, 55. The two men had been cellmates for less than 24 hours in Santa Rita Jail’s Behavioral Health Unit when Freeman was discovered beaten to death on the floor of the two-man cell.
Raper is also being psychologically evaluated for a Union City case in which he is accused of an unprovoked knife attack on a stranger, according to Union City Police.
Raper’s court appointed attorney, David Byron, said Raper will be examined by two psychiatrists and, based on their reports, the court will decide if Raper will stand trial or be sent to a mental health institution.
“The reviews will be done in a timely fashion,” Byron said.
Raper’s case has been assigned to the Hayward Superior Court, where he will appear before Judge Robert Kurtz on June 11.
Freeman’s murder has triggered an administrative review of the policies and procedures for evaluating inmates for purposes of assigning cellmates, said Alameda County Sheriff Department spokesman Lt. Jim Knudsen.
“Why those two men were in the same cell is exactly the kind of thing we’ll be looking at,” he said.