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Competency evaluation is sought for suspect who threatened officer

Published April 12. 2012 05:00PM

A preliminary hearing for a Lehighton man who allegedly threatened to kill a borough police officer and spat all over the inside of a police cruiser ended minutes after it started Wednesday when his attorney requested a competency evaluation.

Todd Allen George, 34, of 470 N. Second St., Lehighton, faces charges of terroristic threats, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct/obscene language, and public drunkenness.

George was to have the hearing before District Judge Edward Lewis of Jim Thorpe. However, once in the courtroom, he responded with rambling statements to defense attorney Joseph Perilli's attempts to explain to him the preliminary hearing process.

After George shrugged off Perilli's efforts, Perilli asked Lewis to continue the hearing until George had undergone competency tests. That, Perilli said, may take a couple of weeks.

Carbon County District Attorney Gary Dobias did not object to the plan.

George has exhibited bizarre behavior, including, according to police, communicating with the President of the United States while en route from Carbon County prison to his hearing.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed by Officer Matt Bender, here's what happened:

At 10:11 p.m. March 16, Bender was on patrol, driving down North First Street, when he saw two people yelling and pointing at three others as the three walked away.

As he slowed and watched, the two began following the three down onto South First Street, walking faster so as to catch up with them.

When the three people walked into Alfie's Pizza Shop, the two spotted Bender watching. He rolled down his window and told them they needed to go home.

One of the two, identified as George, started swearing at Bender and threatened to kill him if he didn't leave.

At that point, Bender could tell the man was drunk. The person with George told Bender he had just met George at a bar and didn't know who he was. George had a strong smell of alcohol about him, Bender noticed.

Bender got out of his cruiser and told George to go home. George again threatened to kill Bender if he didn't let him go. George claimed to "own the town and the capitol", and said that Bender would be "killed by morning."

Bender told George to stop swearing, but he continued spouting profanities and threatening to kill the officer.

Bender arrested him, and George again threatened to kill him. As Bender placed handcuffs on George, George twice pulled away, forcing Bender to exert substantial force to overcome George's resistance.

As Bender placed George into the cruiser, he continued to swear and threaten to kill Bender. He spat all over the cruiser. Once at the police station, George saw another officer, and threatened to kill him, too, calling him by name.

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