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Report: Attorney for man accused of killing panhandler at Avondale MARTA says client is mentally ill

Decatur Metro ATL slideshow

Report: Attorney for man accused of killing panhandler at Avondale MARTA says client is mentally ill


Charles Richey’s booking photo.

Charles Richey, 49, is accused of stabbing a panhandler to death on a MARTA train at the Avondale Station last January.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Richey’s attorney is arguing that his client is mentally ill.

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The AJC reports that Richey’s attorney wrote, “at the present time the defendant is incompetent to such an extent that he does not adequately comprehend his condition with regard to the proceedings and is incapable of adequately assisting his attorney in the defense of the charges against him.”

To read the full story, click here.

The police report of the incident alleges that Richey admitted to stabbing the man and agreed to speak without an attorney present while being interviewed by investigators.

The report alleges that Richey told police that a black man boarded the train and began begging people for money. Richey allegedly told the man to get a job and said he worked for his own money. The victim then sat in front of Richey, the report alleges, walking back to the opposite end of the train a short time later.

“Richey stated he walked to where the black male was sitting and continued to talk,” the report says. “The black male stood up, raising his hands asking Richey to leave [him] alone. Richey then grabbed the black male by his clothing and a fight ensued aboard the train. The black male was able to gain control over Richey by holding him down on the seat. Richey then [pulled] a pocket knife from [his right pocket] and began stabbing the victim.”

A police officer found the victim at the bottom of the escalator on the westbound platform at the Avondale MARTA station. Another man was applying pressure to the victim’s wounds. The victim didn’t have an ID on him and had to be identified via fingerprints. The victim was later identified as Damilola Azuana, according to the AJC.

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