Lawyers for a North Little Rock man who attracted national attention from a viral video that showed him inducing a toddler to smoke a cigar announced Thursday that they will contest findings by state doctors that he is competent to stand trial.
The 12-minute recording prompted an investigation by North Little Rock police that led detectives to track down the 3-year-old boy and arrest his uncle, Lamel Lamont Yancy, in September 2016 on a charge of introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person. The Class C felony carries a 10-year maximum prison sentence.
Yancy, 19, has been arrested five times since then, amassing felony charges of residential burglary, first-degree battery, aggravated assault on a family member, terroristic threatening and felony theft.
His most recent arrest came in December when he was charged with misdemeanor escape from the Arkansas State Hospital. Yancy was being held at the mental institution while doctors assessed his mental health. Their diagnosis, filed in court Tuesday, is that although he has a childhood diagnosis of mental retardation, he has been faking symptoms of mental illness.
The report shows that doctors considered the escape allegations in making their assessment, stating that Yancy's actions were not those of someone with intellectual disabilities.
"His behavior was clearly not simply impulsive, both because he had been previously overheard talking about eloping and his actions clearly appeared to be thought out and involved significant staff manipulation," the report states.
According to State Hospital police, Yancy disappeared from the facility at 305 S. Palm St. for more than four hours on Dec. 19.
A police report said Yancy told behavior health aide Albert Spencer that he was feeling nauseous and asked to go outside to get some fresh air. Spencer took Yancy out, the report said.
After a few moments, Yancy claimed to be feeling better and asked to go back inside but then ran for the fence when Spencer was opening the door, according to reports. He made it over the fence and through a gate, despite Spencer's efforts to shake him off, and ran down West Markham Street, reports said.
A police search for him was unsuccessful, but about 4½ hours later Yancy's mother called the hospital to report that he was at the Taco Bell at 4424 W. Markham St. State Hospital police found him at the restaurant sitting in a gray Dodge Charger talking on a cellphone with his mother, the report said.
The car's driver, 24-year-old Omont Dylan Sanders, said he didn't know that Yancy was an escaped mental patient, the report said. Sanders said Yancy had walked up to him and asked to use his phone, the report said.
Yancy was moved to the Pulaski County jail on Tuesday where his bail is set at $300,000. A hearing on his mental state is scheduled for Feb. 28 before Circuit Judge Leon Johnson who has the final say on whether Yancy is fit to stand trial. The charges against Yancy cannot be resolved until the issue of his mental competency is decided by the judge.
Yancy's lawyers dispute accusations that he gave the little boy marijuana, saying that the video shows Yancy giving the toddler tobacco and that prosecutors can't prove that Yancy drugged the boy.
A hair-follicle test on the toddler at Arkansas Children's Hospital showed that the boy's hair contained metabolized cocaine and marijuana, reports said. Traces also were found on his hair, the reports said.
The test showed that he had been exposed either by inhalation or ingestion over the previous three months, the length of time necessary for the drugs to be processed by his body to show up in his hair, according to reports.
The video, which had been shown to the judge earlier, shows Yancy in a car passenger seat lighting a cigar and giving it to the child. Yancy calls the cigar a "blunt," slang for a hollowed-cigar filled with marijuana, the video shows.
"You want to hit the blunt? You want to hit the gas?" he asks as he hands the lit cigar to the child.
"Yeah," the boy calls out.
The toddler takes it, puts it to his mouth and appears to smoke it.
"Hit the blunt, man," Yancy says. "Hit the blunt one more time."
The video shows the toddler smoking twice, then Yancy takes it away, saying "Hey, hey, that's enough, baby."
The Internet clip doesn't show the child's mother getting into the car, but she can be heard angrily chiding Yancy, who laughingly tells her the boy is intoxicated.
"Hey, girl ... he high already," he says.
Several times, the toddler appears to be playfully calling out "weed," which is slang for marijuana. He's also heard coughing.
Metro on 02/08/2019
Print Headline: Trial is faulty for North Little Rock man shown on video inducing toddler to smoke cigar, lawyers to argue