Man fit to stand trial for attempted murder

Man fit to stand trial for attempted murder

URBANA — A Fithian man accused of trying to kill a man by slashing his throat at the Illinois Terminal in December has been restored to fitness and is scheduled to be back in court next month.

On Tuesday, Judge Richard Klaus reviewed the findings of mental health professionals at Chester Mental Health Center and entered an order that Joshua L. Scaggs, 24, is now fit to stand trial. Scaggs also listed an address in St. Joseph with jail officials.

Scaggs was charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery in connection with a Dec. 7 attack on Anurudha Dharmapala, 42, of Champaign.

The University of Illinois College of Law professor was in the waiting area of the Illinois Terminal, 45 E. University Ave., C, about 5:45 a.m. that day, waiting for a train to Chicago.

Scaggs approached him, allegedly said words to the effect of "this is my country," then grabbed him by the throat.

Dharmapala, a U.S. citizen of Sri Lankan ethnicity, sustained about a 6-inch cut to the right side of his neck, authorities said. Police found Scaggs nearby with blood on his hands, a folding knife in his pocket, and a box cutter on the floor nearby.

After being examined by Champaign psychiatrist Lawrence Jeckel, Scaggs was found to be unfit for trial on April 18 and sent to Chester.

Court documents indicate he was said to be under the influence of a synthetic cannabis at the time of the attack.

In court the day after his arrest, he yelled at his own attorney, Baku Patel of Urbana, during his arraignment. Two days after his arrest, he allegedly tried to choke a correctional officer at the county jail.

Klaus set Scaggs' next court appearance for June 12 before Judge Harry Clem. He's being held in lieu of $500,000 bond.