Despite 'Moorish Rights' comments, man competent for trial in New London murder

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Metese Hinds, accused of murder, spoke of unusual beliefs during an Aug. 8 competency evaluation at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield, but state clinicians found him capable of understanding the court proceedings and assisting his lawyer in his defense.

Hinds, 47, who also is known as Matese Hinds or Metese Sackon, is accused of fatally stabbing Raheim General outside a Blackhall Street, New London, apartment in October 2017.

New London Superior Court Judge Hillary B. Strackbein last month ordered Hinds evaluated to determine if he is competent to stand trial.

A competency report submitted to the court this past week indicates that during the evaluation, Hinds told a psychiatrist, psychologist and social worker from the Office of Forensic Evaluations that he has been labeled a "savant" since the age of 7 but never attended any formal schooling due to his grandparents' beliefs in "Moorish Rights."

Hinds, who was raised in New London by his parents and grandparents, said authorities did not know of his truancy because he had no Social Security number or other form of identification, according to the report.

The belief set Hinds referenced is derived from the Moorish Science Temple of America and is sometimes likened to the Sovereign Citizen Movement, in which believers decide which laws apply to them.

Some members of the Moorish religion have tried to use their beliefs to evade prosecution, according to news stories. When the clinicians questioned Hinds about the allegations against him, he expressed frustration with the legal system, and "his thought content included themes that appeared to be consistent with Moorish ideology, such as stating that John Hanson, an 18th-century Maryland politician, was the first President of the United States," according to the report.

"However, there was no indication that these beliefs extended into his thinking about the legal system or his case," the report says. 

Hinds has no history of psychiatric treatment, according to the report. He said he was living with his fiancée on Blackhall Street, working in landscaping and construction and had 15 children from multiple relationships. He never received treatment for substance abuse but said he first tried marijuana when he was 8, began drinking alcohol regularly at 28 and had snorted cocaine and opiates.

He has previous convictions for possession of narcotics, failure to appear in court, interfering with police, violation of probation and third-degree assault.

According to New London police, Hinds had been drinking shots of liquor and listening to music with a group of people, including General, in an apartment at 49-51 Blackhall St. on Oct. 24, 2017.

The two men started arguing after leaving via the third-floor apartment's fire escape. Hinds allegedly stabbed General, a 33-year-old father of five, in the head, neck, torso and extremities.

A police officer who was attempting to help General said Hinds came out of the building, kicked General, and shouted, "Get him the (expletive) out of here."

Questioned by police the next day, Hinds changed his story several times. He told police that he had gotten into an argument with a black man he did not know by name because the man was sexually touching a baby at the apartment. Shown a photo of General, Hinds said that was the person he had fought with and called him "the devil," according to the affidavit.

Two small children were in a bedroom in the apartment where Hinds, General and the others had been drinking, according to one of the witnesses.

Hinds is being held in lieu of $1 million bond. He is represented by a court-appointed attorney, Robert F. Kappes, and Senior Assistant State's Attorney Thomas M. Delillo is prosecuting. If the lawyers can't work out a plea deal, Hinds eventually will have a trial.

His next court date is Sept. 20.

k.florin@theday.com

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