Man to Undergo Psychiatric Tests Before Trial in Shooting of Boy

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A Ventura man accused of shooting and injuring a 14-year-old boy was found mentally incompetent and will undergo psychiatric treatment before he stands trial, a jury ruled Thursday.

Brian Adams, 21, who has already begun psychiatric treatment, was ordered by Superior Court Judge Charles R. McGrath to undergo further evaluation at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino County, according to George Eskin, Adams' attorney.

"The jury found that he would not be capable of assisting in his own defense," Eskin said. "The jury felt, I believe, that this young man should be able to make a rational decision about where he is going to spend the rest of his life."

Adams is accused of forcing his way into 14-year-old Kevin Natale's Ventura Keys home in January and firing several shots from a 9-millimeter handgun, hitting Kevin in the neck. He apparently was angry because the boy hit his car with a baseball while playing catch, prosecutors said. Kevin has been paralyzed from the neck down since the attack.

Prosecutors could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Adams pleaded not guilty in January to charges of attempted first-degree murder and first-degree burglary and denied a special allegation that he used a firearm in the commission of a felony, prosecutors said.

If convicted, he could receive 25 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.

Adams wanted to change his plea to guilty, but Eskin said his client had not reached that decision rationally.

"He feels that by pleading guilty he can keep his own demons to himself, and won't have to reveal them to anybody," Eskin said.

Eskin said Adams has been in a deep depression for more than a decade and has been suicidal.

"He just thinks he has figured out a way to have other people help him commit suicide by (sending him) to prison," Eskin said.

Adams will undergo treatment, and he may be capable of standing trial in a few months, Eskin said.

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