By Derick Waller, Juliette Delp and Chandelis Duster
RICHMOND, VA – It has been one year since Willie Fuller left Virginia Commonwealth University after he was accused of trying to solicit sex from a minor. Now he still faces no charges and we found out he likely never will.
On January 29, 2009 Chesterfield Police say they caught Fuller trying to solicit sex from a detective posing as a 14-year-old girl in a chat room. By March 11 Fuller had left the university after being suspended without pay.
Charges followed, but before his summer court date he suffered from a diabetic seizure. Fuller’s attorney, Arnold Henderson said that the resulting dementia left his client unable to communicate.
“He was not in good shape, medically,” Henderson said.
After a psychiatric evaluation at VCU MCV hospitals confirming his disability, Chesterfield prosecutors dropped the charges last fall.
Now some are wondering if fuller will ever pay a penalty. Is this a case of a man getting away with a serious crime or of someone who can’t defend himself and should be left alone?
Todd Stone is a criminal defense lawyer not associated with this case. According to him, that all depends on fuller’s mental competency. He says it’s common to see that restored over time.
“I have seen many cases in the past where somebody gets restored to competency and later-months later they can, could stand trial,” Stone said.
But with this case Henderson says that likely won’t happen anytime soon.
“He was not able to assist in his defense and as far as Ii know, nothing has changed since that time,” Henderson said.
And nothing has changed for the commonwealth’s attorney’s office in chesterfield either. We asked if they planned on revisiting fuller’s competency. They had nothing to say about this case.
But VCU students we talked to had plenty to say.
“I think he should be tried if, if he recovers from his disability. I feel that the charges should not have been dropped,” Elementary Education Sophomore Elizabeth Kienle said.
“I think that the trial should still go on,” Psychology Junior Nick Elzie said.
But until fuller is found competent to aid in his own defense, he will be a free man.
“You know competency is competency, if this were a murder, if it were a rape, if it were any particular offense it’s the same test,” Stone said. “Either you’re competent or you’re not competent.”
Henderson also said that because of fuller’s mental disability he believes that his client poses no risk to the community.