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Suspect In High-Speed Crash Pleads Not Guilty By Reason Of Mental Illness

Cameron Boni

It has been nearly a year since a man drove his car at 143 miles per hour in Powell before crashing into four different vehicles and injuring two people.

Now that man,50-year-old Cameron Boni, has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of mental illness, according to the Powell Tribune.

Boni has been jailed since the crash on a $100,000 cash bond, despite efforts by his attorney and his family to have him released for treatment.

Deputy Park County Attorney Jack Hatfield argues that Boni should remain in custody so he doesn’t harm anyone else.  He also calls him a “violent convicted felon that will not stop.”  He said, “The state intends to stop him.”

Boni was convicted of felony third-degree assault in Oregon in 2001.   And after threatening a sheriff’s deputy with a knife in 2007, he was convicted of aggravated assault in Park County.

Prosecutors are seeking to have him designed as a “habitual criminal” because of his past convictions.  The enhancement could mean a conviction on the aggravated assault charge would bring at least 10 years of prison time.

In last May’s crash, Boni was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and battery as well as a felony count of property destruction and a misdemeanor count of driving without auto insurance.  But amazingly, a woman and a teenager who were injured in the crash were not seriously hurt, but they were transported to hospitals to be treated for their injuries.

After the crash, Boni appeared paranoid, telling police he was trying to get away from someone who had planted a bomb in his car and wanted to steal money.

His family says Boni’s mental health is deteriorating at the detention center where he’s currently being held because the facility isn’t equipped to address his mental health needs.  His attorney Tim Blatt claims a reasonable alternative to his detention is available.   Blatt has proposed Boni be required to live with his family and be under the supervision of a family member or friend at all times. He proposes Boni have no access to car keys or firearms and requires him to have round-the-clock GPS tracking and alcohol monitoring.

But, like Circuit Court Judge Joey Darrah before, District Court Judge Bill Simpson declined to lower the $100,000 figure last week.

Initially, Boni was found not competent to stand trial due to severe mental illness, but he wasn’t admitted to the Wyoming State Hospital until December, nearly seven months after the crash.

While being held at the jail in Cody, his family claims he lost 35 pounds and developed an infected tooth.  They say he wants to make amends.

After being treated at the state hospital, Boni’s competency was deemed to have been restored and it was determined that he is now able to understand court proceedings and take part in his defense.  His case resumed in February.

The recent pleading of not guilty by reason of mental illness means he’ll need to be evaluated again to determine whether he has the capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct.  If it’s determined that he lacks the capacity to do so, he would not be held criminally responsible for his actions.

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