A man accused of threatening to kill police officers before ramming his car through the front doors of the Havre de Grace police station earlier this year was found not competent to stand trial, according to court records.
Timothy Joel Jackson Kahl, 26, of Havre de Grace, was found not competent to stand trial after an examination by the Maryland Department of Health, according to court filings in Harford County District Court.
Kahl is accused of ramming his car through the Havre de Grace police station on May 23 and is charged with multiple counts of attempted first- and attempted second-degree murder, as well as numerous assault and traffic charges.
According to electronic court records, Kahl was committed to the Maryland Department of Health on June 16 for a competency assessment. He was, in turn, committed to the health department July 9 after a finding of incompetence.
As a legal principle, incompetence is the inability for a defendant to assist in their own defense or appreciate the nature of the charges against them. It is different from criminal responsibility — Maryland’s version of the insanity defense — and does not denote guilt or innocence. When defendants are found to be incompetent, they are treated by the Department of Health to restore their competency and stand trial.
Kahl’s attorney Michael Schaech said defendants’ competency is reassessed after every six months of commitment. After five years of commitment, courts begin to evaluate whether a given defendant will ever be competent to stand trial, which can lead to charges being dropped.
Schaech said the case was regrettable and that Kahl had suffered from mental health issues.
“He has psychological issues that have to be addressed, and he has had them for quite sometime,” Schaech said. “Hopefully we can get him back on track and get everything under way.”
According to police, Kahl called the station shortly after 9:30 p.m. May 23 to say he wanted to come to the building and shoot a police officer. When officers responded to the area near the 400 block of Village Drive where Kahl lived, they found him in his SUV and approached him.
When they did, Kahl tried to run over the officers, according to charging documents filed in district court, striking several parked cars in the area. He then drove to the city’s police department at 715 Pennington Ave., and rammed his car through the front doors, Havre de Grace Police reported.
According to the police, when Kahl arrived at the station in his SUV, he hit a parked car, then lined his vehicle up with the front doors, hopped the curb and rammed the vehicle through the building. The doors were not reinforced and nobody was in the lobby at the time of the incident.
The impact deployed the SUV’s air bags and immobilized the vehicle. Kahl climbed out of it and went outside, where he confronted officers, according to the documents.
Two police officers used stun guns on Kahl “almost simultaneously” when he would not stop steadily walking toward them, according to charging documents.
Kahl was then arrested and taken to Harford Memorial Hospital. Neither drugs or alcohol were involved in the incident, police initially reported.
No police officers or staff were injured.