Jury says sex offender should remain in hospital

After 24 minutes of deliberation, an Orange County jury decided Wednesday that a Costa Mesa sex offender is dangerous and should remain in a state hospital, according to a court official.

Jurors began deliberating about whether to release Cary Jay Smith, 52, at 10:13 a.m. and reached a verdict by 10:37 a.m., according to Orange County Superior Court spokeswoman Gwen Vieau.

In 1999, Smith went to Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino on a 72-hour hold after his wife gave his psychiatrist a letter in which he described sex acts he wanted to perform on a boy, according to authorities. Other than a brief stint in Orange County Jail around 2002 after the district attorney’s office charged him with sexually abusing a neighbor boy, Smith has not left the hospital, said his court-appointed attorney, Payson Lederman.

The charges from 2002 were dropped, according to court records and Lederman. But in 1983, Smith was convicted of a misdemeanor charge involving a child and was required to register as a sex offender, according to an Los Angeles Times article from 2002.

Smith is allowed a new trial every six months. Since Lederman began representing him in 2004, Smith has had 15.

As long as Smith continued to remain a danger, the trials will continue, said Ron Ervais, deputy county counsel for the Orange County Counsel’s office.

Smith has claimed that he killed three boys and molested 200, and he has said he prefers to go by the name Mr. RTK, which stands for rape, torture, kill, according to Ervais.

“We do believe he’s dangerous,” Ervais said.

Smith has not been charged with any additional crimes but is being held at the state hospital because he’s been determined to be dangerous.

Smith is one of five people being held under a rarely used law for those who pose a danger to themselves or others, according to authorities, but he has been held the longest at more than 10 years.

One person has been held for three years, while three people have been held since 2012, according to Department of State Hospitals spokesman Ralph Montaño.

“He’s one of a kind with the nature of his confinement,” Lederman said.

Smith lives at the hospital with sexually violent predators and those deemed by a jury to be not guilty by reason of insanity, Lederman said.

“I don’t believe that is necessarily the only way to keep the community safe from Cary Smith ... [keeping him] behind the fences at Patton State Hospital,” Lederman said.

“We need to explore other ways of keeping the community safe other than just confining people to a state hospital,” he said.