By Neal Putnam
A Ramona man who is charged with stealing aluminum railing from the bleachers where Pop Warner football games are played had criminal proceedings suspended after his attorney doubted he was mentally competent to stand trial.
Charles Alan Keyser, 41, is suspected of trying to recycle aluminum he had allegedly taken on July 2, said Deputy District Attorney Christopher Chandler. The theft took place during the day and it included aluminum brackets from the bleachers of the Wilson football field in Ramona.
Chandler said there were others doing work in the field, but when they noticed him removing some of the railing, a sheriff’s deputy was called and Keyser was arrested that day. He had been ordered to stand trial for grand theft on July 20 by El Cajon Superior Court Judge William McGrath at his preliminary hearing, court records show.
The charge is a felony because it was alleged that the aluminum taken was valued over $400. The deputy who arrested him and a witness who saw it happen testified. Chandler said some of the aluminum was recovered, but the exact loss is still being determined.
However, now that criminal proceedings have halted, Keyser will meet with a court appointed psychiatrist on Sept. 16 in jail. A judge will hold a hearing Sept. 30 in San Diego Superior Court to determine if he is mentally competent.
If Keyser is found to be mentally incompetent, he would be sent to a state mental hospital until he recovers. His attorney made the motion Aug. 16 before Judge Peter Deddeh, who is required to suspend proceedings and refer the defendant to a psychiatrist.
Keyser remains in the South Bay Detention Facility without bail. Four other cases are trailing the felony case and also remain suspended, pending the mental health hearing.
The other cases follow the felony case because Keyser received probation on all of them, but, because he was arrested, his probation was revoked. He could get more time in jail if a judge determines he can’t remain on probation. He could also be reinstated on probation in all four cases.
Records show that Keyser was placed on three years probation on March 27, 2008, after he pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to commit theft. The victim was Mike’s Liquor in Ramona and he was ordered to pay $1,900 in restitution to the store.
Keyser was barred from having contact with the store owner and he was fined $2,857. Keyser also has a case from Vista Superior Court in 2008 in which he pleaded guilty to grand theft for contracting without a license.
Keyser has a misdemeanor trespass conviction for a July 2, 2010, incident at a house in the 1200 block of Olive Street in Ramona. He is barred from coming within 100 yards of that residence, records show. He also has a misdemeanor drug conviction, and at one time was placed in a drug and alcohol recovery center.