Man accused of stabbing cop is deemed incompetent

Posted: July 30, 2009

A man who is accused of stabbing a cop while standing naked in an East Germantown house two weeks ago has been deemed mentally incompetent.

The diagnosis of Thomas Burgess, 30, followed a psychiatric evaluation, public defender Gregg Blender told Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield yesterday.

Blender said that on July 16, Burgess' mother wanted her son committed. Police have said that shortly after 1 p.m., cops responded to her house on Rittenhouse Street near Sprague and found her son standing naked.

Burgess then darted into a bedroom, returned with a knife and ignored repeated pleas to drop it, police have said. Police at the time did not name Burgess, who was not yet charged.

Sgt. Wanda Newsome then was forced to fire a Taser at the agitated man, Lt. Frank Vanore has said. It was then that Burgess allegedly stabbed Newsome in the left arm. Another officer then shot Burgess once in the finger.

Neifield yesterday agreed to commit Burgess, who is charged with aggravated assault and related offenses, to Norristown State Hospital for 60 days. She also agreed to a request by Charles Ehrlich, chief of the district attorney's Municipal Court unit, to increase Burgess' bail from $100,000 to $500,000. Attorneys are to return to court Oct. 7 for a status hearing on Burgess' mental health.

Newsome, 38, has been released from Albert Einstein Medical Center, hospital spokesman Rodney Yancey said yesterday.

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