- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mental health experts have determined that a teenager accused of fatally shooting a D.C. taxicab driver in the course of a botched robbery with his girlfriend cannot use an insanity defense when he stands trial for the homicide.

An attorney for the teen, Joshua Mebane, said she may seek to challenge the determination that her client can be found criminally responsibly — one of several recent developments in the case in the 18 months since the murder charges were brought against him.

The 18-year-old is charged in the 2012 killing of Quadar Muhammad, who was shot in the back the head in his cab after picking up a fare in Northeast D.C. Police said Mr. Mebane and his then-girlfriend hitched a ride from the cab driver in an attempt to rob him. The girl, Linda Bury, has since pleaded guilty to both second-degree murder and armed robbery and is expected to testify against Mr. Mebane at trial. She is awaiting sentencing.

Police said the pair met online, and that in an exchange of messages, Mr. Mebane bragged to Ms. Bury about his involvement in another murder, a shooting along a Waldorf footpath that killed Teresa Ann Bass and injured her husband.

Mr. Mebane, who was 17 at the time of the killings, will not face the charges in Maryland until authorities in the District finish with their case.

In the meantime, the teenager has been shuffled between the D.C. Jail and the city’s psychiatric facility, St. Elizabeths Hospital, and has gotten into further trouble along the way, according to court records.

Over the last several months, authorities have charged Mr. Mebane in two more criminal cases.

During a December incident, police said Mr. Mebane stabbed an inmate at the D.C. Jail with a homemade metal shank. In March, authorities said he threw feces at a correctional officer after he was told he would have to wait to see a physician about a medical issue.

He’s been charged with assault with dangerous weapon and assault on a police officer as a result of the two separate incidents.

Mr. Mebane’s attorney, Gretchen Franklin, had sought to have the teenager evaluated for mental competency to see if he could qualify for an insanity defense. He underwent a mental competency exam in February and was later returned to the D.C. Jail where he is currently housed.

The mental competency report is not part of Mr. Mebane’s public court record, so the exact details of findings were not available and Ms. Franklin declined to discuss them.

At a status hearing for Mr. Mebane in D.C. Superior Court Friday, Ms. Franklin said she needed to consult with Mr. Mebane to see if he wanted to challenge the ruling from St. Elizabeths.

Mr. Mebane, who entered the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit, said nothing during the course of the hearing.

Another hearing has been set for June 26.