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Alleged WACH gunman rule competent
At the time of the standoff 31-year-old Robert Anthony Quinones was said to be upset that he could not get mental health care from the Army. - photo by File photo

SAVANNAH — A former soldier charged with taking hostages at gunpoint during a 2010 standoff at a Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart has been found mentally competent to stand trial, attorneys on both sides of the case said in federal court documents.

The case against 31-year-old Robert Anthony Quinones was delayed for more than a year after a judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine his fitness to understand the charges he faces, which include making threats to kill President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.

A U.S. magistrate judge sealed results of the evaluation. But court papers filed Dec. 27 in Savannah say both prosecutors and Quinones' defense attorney agreed that reports by two psychological experts in Georgia and Florida show the ex-soldier is competent for trial.

Still, Quinones' defense attorney, Karl Zipperer, noted Wednesday that doesn't mean his client was mentally sound during the Sept. 6, 2010, hospital standoff.

"That is still very much an issue in the case," Zipperer said.

Authorities say Quinones walked into Winn before dawn carrying two handguns, a semiautomatic rifle and a semiautomatic version of a submachine gun. They say he took three hospital employees hostage while demanding mental treatment.

The gunman surrendered two hours later and no one was harmed. Investigators say Quinones later told them he had been planning to kill Obama and Clinton.

After his arrest, Quinones' mother said he had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was discharged from the Army after returning from a 15-month deployment to Iraq in 2007. She said her son moved to Georgia to live with her after being discharged.

Zipperer declined Wednesday to discuss Quinones' mental state or other aspects of the case.

No new hearing dates have been set by the judge in the case.

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