FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Hallucinations, delusions, paranoia and hearing voices were part of the testimony heard Monday as four medical experts reported their findings on Joseph Bossard’s competency to stand trial.
Last February, Bossard allegedly shot and killed two young men and gravely injured a third outside an East State Boulevard gas station in February of 2021. He is scheduled to face a jury for two counts of murder and one count attempted murder.
Does he understand his legal situation well enough to assist counsel is the question Allen Superior Court Judge David Zent must decide before Bossard faces a jury next month? A 4-day trial is scheduled to begin March 21.
Zent took the testimony under advisement. It’s expected he’ll give his opinion on whether Bossard is competent in 30 days or less.
Bossard’s attorneys Donald Swanson and Travis Friend brought in two medical experts – Dr. George Parker and Dr. Steven Ross – who diagnosed Bossard with schizophrenia, due to medical records and personal interviews where Bossard reported hearing voices who told him what to do and delusions.
They also said he became angry during interviews at the Allen County Jail to the point where he was not capable of discussing the case and was therefore, incompetent to stand trial.
Swanson said during the competency hearing Monday that Bossard, 33, was diagnosed schizophrenic when he was 15. His medical records are nearly 400 pages long, dating from 2014 to 2020, and detail hospitalization and treatment at Parkview Behavioral Health and the Bowen Center. Another six doctors were consulted.
If the trial is deferred, he could become competent with the requisite medications usually prescribed to schizophrenics. Currently, he is receiving lithium, a mood stabilizing drug primarily given to those diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and Zoloft, an antidepressant, Parker and other medical experts said.
Bossard sought treatment, sometimes under the guidance of his mother, but minimized his problems, characterizing them as anxiety and depression. Parker said records indicated that Bossard has an IQ of 77, just seven points higher than a baseline of 70 and was a special education student.
The two court-appointed medical experts – Dr. David Lombard and Dr. Ned Masbaum – found psychological problems associated with Bossard, but didn’t find his demeanor during jail interviews to be so obstructive that he didn’t understand what his legal situation was. He was, therefore, competent, they said.
Lombard said Bossard, who worked as a truck driver, described his legal status as a “lost cause” and believed that a mental hospital was the place for him.
Tesa Helge, Allen County prosecutor sharing the state’s burden with Tom Chaille, chief counsel, brought in homicide detective Donald Lewis who is leading the investigation for the Fort Wayne Police Department.
Lewis said Bossard was calm and respectful as he was interviewed at police headquarters and asked for an attorney. Lewis also said he was surprised at the sophisticated electronics found at Bossard’s home.
Bossard was arrested at his home two blocks from the gas station in the span of five hours after the shootings deaths. After exchanging words inside the convenience store with Anderson Retic and Joshua Cole Cooper, both 19, and Jaylin Rice, 20, the only survivor, he ambushed them as they got into their car at pump 9 and opened fire.
When they sped away south on Hobson Road, Bossard jumped in his pickup and pursued them. Fort Wayne police found the three lying on a snowbank and desperately tried to save them.
The shootings shocked Fort Wayne and activists cried for justice in what they believed was a hate crime.
Bossard is also charged with aggravated battery with the intent of causing death, criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and using a firearm in the commission of a crime.
A local social activist group is urging Fort Wayne officials to prosecute to the fullest extent possible the man accused of shooting three people last week.
ChangeMakers also wants the investigation to reflect the shooter’s possible racial motivations. An email attachment was titled “Hate Crime,” but that phrase was not included in the text of the news release.