Trial postponed in trans homicide

Trial postponed in trans homicide

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The trial of Charles N. Sargent, who’s accused of slashing to death trans woman Diamond Williams — then dismembering her body with an ax — has been postponed indefinitely.

 

Jury selection was scheduled to begin March 14.  

But according to court records, Sargent has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he’s competent to stand trial.

As a result, the trial will be postponed indefinitely.

Sargent is charged with murder, abuse of a corpse, possessing an instrument of a crime and related offenses.

Sargent was scheduled to act as his own attorney during his upcoming trial. But during a December court appearance, he appeared erratic and disoriented. 

At the beginning of the proceeding, Sargent refused to be sworn in and testify under oath. 

“I’m not going to argue with you,” Common Pleas Judge Lillian H. Ransom told Sargent. “You’ll either be sworn in or you’ll be taken out of this courtroom.”

At that point, Sargent agreed to be sworn in.

During the proceeding, Sargent acknowledged being diagnosed with schizophrenia but said he wasn’t taking any medications for the condition.

If Sargent is deemed incompetent to stand trial, he could be confined to a mental hospital until his competency is established. 

In recent court filings, Sargent requested the dismissal of all charges against him on the basis that he’s been denied a speedy trial. He noted that a criminal complaint was filed against him in July 2013, more than two years ago.

His request remained pending with Ransom as of presstime. 

Sargent allegedly told police he acted in self-defense, after Williams visited his Strawberry Mansion residence to perform oral sex for a pre-arranged payment of $40. Sargent said that once he realized Williams had a penis, he refused to pay the money. When Williams allegedly pulled out a knife and demanded the money, Sargent killed her.

But Sargent’s court filings are sprinkled with dozens of Biblical quotations indicating a strong disapproval of the transgender community.

In one filing, Sargent said he’d like to speak with his alleged victim, though he misgenders Williams.

“I would like to speak man to man, to the man I did wrong to. I would like to speak to him, man to man, to ask his forgiveness. I was once irresponsible. I would like to use my word as my bond to be released. Give me one last chance to be a man and to show the world that I have changed. Going to jail will cost a man harm.” 

As of presstime, Sargent, 46, remained confined to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Northeast Philadelphia. 


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