HAMMOND — A Gary man is being sent to a mental hospital for his insistence on defending himself against bank robbery charges and a history of criminal insanity.
U.S. District Court Judge Joshua P. Kolar has committed Omarr R. Williams to a federal institution where he will be examined for mental competency and his fitness to act as his own lawyer in a trial now scheduled to begin early next year.
Williams and co-defendant Anthony H. Day, 51, of Gary, are accused of robbing three area banks: the U.S. Federal Credit Union at 1 N. Buchanan St. in Gary Sept. 5, the Horizon Bank at 1345 Calumet Ave. in Hammond Sept. 23 and the First Financial Bank at 2705 169th St. in Hammond Oct. 8.
Hammond and Lake County police arrested the pair in Gary after a car chase.
Day is pleading not guilty and is represented by a court-appointed attorney.
Williams has demanded his right to represent himself and refused the court’s offer to hire a defense attorney for him at public expense.
Williams also has threatened a U.S. Marshal and refused to come to pretrial court hearings during pretrial hearings since his arrest.
The court record indicates Williams has been combative legally too.
He has issued, from his jail cell, a series of handwritten demands for the government to deliver to him proof of his guilt and for the court to dismiss the charges against him.
He also has complained his rights are being violated by the police and court and most recently claimed in writing the magistrate's questions about Williams’ mental competence is a further violation of his rights.
He states in one motion to the court, “I will continue to refuse all communication with a systematically biased kangaroo court. Slavery is over.”
Williams also claims to be a Moorish American who isn’t subject to any “man-made law."
The magistrate wrote that the order to commit Williams is reasonable because of Williams' recent conduct in court and a 2010 finding in an unrelated Illinois case where Williams was found to be guilty, but mentally ill, of an undisclosed crime.
The magistrate committed Williams to the U.S. Attorney General. Federal guidelines indicate the Attorney General will send Williams to a medical facility within the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
Prison officials must exam him and report within 30 days whether Williams has a mental disease or defect that clouds his understanding of the current criminal proceedings.
The magistrate could order Williams to stand trial soon if found to be mentally competent or confined to a mental institution for a longer period if not.
Lake Criminal Court records indicate Williams made similar demands, two years ago, to act as his own lawyer when faced armed robbery charges for a holdup at a Gary business.
He eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve time in the minimum security facility of the Lake County Community Corrections program in Crown Point. A judge freed him on probation last year for having successfully completed the program.