Man acquitted of charges because of mental illness

An Anoka County District Court judge has found a Coon Rapids man not guilty, because of mental illness, of two felony charges for a July 2013 incident in Ramsey.

Judge Douglas Meslow rendered his verdict June 18, acquitting Kwaku Kwabi Sefah Jr., 24, on second-degree assault and terroristic threats charges, following a court trial.

Sefah had waived his rights to a jury trial, which left the judge to make a decision based on the evidence presented.

In his findings of fact, conclusions of law and order, Meslow ruled that Sefah had committed the crimes for which he had been charged beyond a reasonable doubt.

But based on a psychological evaluation presented to the court May 30 and not challenged by the prosecutor, Meslow wrote that Sefah was in a “psychotic state” at the time of the incident, did not know right from wrong and thus was not criminally responsible for his actions.

At Sefah’s arraignment in July 2013, the court had ordered a Rule 20 competency evaluation to be performed to determine whether he would be able to take part in his defense.

At a court hearing Sept. 12, 2013, a psychologist told the court that Sefah was not competent to stand trial because he was unable to understand the proceedings against him and participate in his defense.

Judge Tammi Fredrickson found Sehaf incompetent by reason of mental illness and through the civil commitment process, he was sent to a state facility for treatment.

In January, Sefah was back in court on the charges after he had been found competent to go to trial and take part in his defense.

However, the civil commitment ordered by the court in September 2013 was extended for up to 12 months March 6 this year, so following the verdict, Meslow returned Sefah to the state facility.

Sehaf had been accused of threatening two men with a knife at a Ramsey residence the morning of July 7.

According to the complaint, Ramsey police responded to a home on the 14400 block of Radium Street Northwest, where the resident reported that he had been concerned that Sefah, a relative, had stayed out all night and had asked Sefah’s brother to find him and bring him back to the man’s home, which the brother did.

But the man told police that Sefah became belligerent, grabbed a butcher’s knife and threatened to kill both him and Sefah’s brother before they were able to wrestle the knife away from Sefah.

The brother corroborated the man’s account of the incident when interviewed by police.

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