Natrona County judge orders woman charged with luring children to take medication

2012-12-07T23:45:00Z Natrona County judge orders woman charged with luring children to take medicationBy MEGAN CASSIDY Casper Star-Tribune The Billings Gazette
December 07, 2012 11:45 pm  • 

CASPER, Wyo. — The woman who police say tried to lure children with candy was ordered Friday to take antipsychotic medication to enable her to stand trial.

Police say that on Aug. 15 Carol Palomo approached a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old at Washington Park and asked them to be her friends. She reportedly tried to lead the 3-year-old away by holding the child’s arm, and the 6-year-old later said the woman offered candy to entice the children to go to the bowling alley with her.

Palomo was arrested the next day on two counts of custodial interference and one count of assault on a police officer.

At a hearing a few weeks later, Palomo was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial, despite her objections to the contrary.

On Friday morning, Palomo participated in a conference call to determine whether the state should impel her to take medication. Assistant District Attorney Dan Itzen, Palomo’s defense attorney Tim Cotton and Natrona County Circuit Judge Michael Patchen phoned in from court and two doctors joined Palomo from the hospital.

Palomo said she refused to take the medication and wanted to get out of the hospital to proceed in court.

Her doctors said she was absolutely unfit to stand trial at this point and that less intrusive measures had already been taken.

Itzen asked the doctors how likely it would be that Palomo could stand trial if she were on the medication. One of the doctors said he believed the antipsychotics could very well restore Palomo’s mental competency, as studies have shown the medication to be about 77 percent successful in similar situations.

He added that it was unlikely the defendant’s mental state would change without the drugs.

Patchen acknowledged that he knew Palomo wanted to proceed, but said the only way to get to that point was for her to be deemed fit to stand trial. He ordered the antipsychotic medications be administered.

Palomo said she would defy the order at all costs.

“If they try to force medication down me, I will sue the state,” she said.

The state will reassess her competency in a hearing at a later date.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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