- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A judge is postponing the competency hearing for a man who shot himself in the head just weeks after police charged him in connection with racist graffiti written on the homes of four African refugee families in Concord.

Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler on Wednesday put off the hearing for at least 45 days after lawyers for Raymond Stevens of Pembroke said they are still gathering medical records.

Stevens was arrested Oct. 15 and charged with writing hateful messages in black permanent marker on the four homes in the same Concord neighborhood in 2011 and 2012.

He shot himself in the head Nov. 7 - on his 43rd birthday - but survived.

Stevens faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of felony criminal mischief, because police say the crime was motivated by racial and ethnic hostility. He pleaded not guilty in November.

The case went unsolved for nearly two years after the first graffiti appeared.

On one home was scrawled, “The sub humans in this house are enjoying a free ride.” On another, “Go back to your hell and leave us alone.”

Concord Det. Wade Brown sifted through more than 1,000 criminal files and complaints generated from the city’s South End between 2009-2011 looking for any handwritten documents featuring the distinctive lowercase letter “b” written like the number six, along with other distinctive letters and unusual word choices used in the graffiti.

When that search failed, Brown turned to gun permit applications and found one submitted by Stevens, who used to live in the same neighborhood where the graffiti appeared.

“The nature of these crimes is so deplorable, it didn’t matter how much time was spent,” said Concord Police Chief John Duval, in announcing Stevens‘ arrest. “Concord’s a great city. Being rocked at its foundation by something hateful is not going to be tolerated.”

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