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Joseph Bova, Accused Killer of Store Clerk, Again Declared Incompetent In Threatening Court Appearance

| April 11, 2017

Joseph Bova arriving in court today. (c FlaglerLive)

Joseph Bova arriving in court today. (c FlaglerLive)

Joseph Bova was off his meds.

To say that of the accused killer of store clerk Zuheili Roman Rosado at a Palm Coast gas station in 2013 is not a metaphor, an exaggeration or a put-down. Today, when Bova appeared before Circuit Judge Dennis Craig for the first time in nine months, it was a fact: he had not been taking his psychotropic medication at the Flagler County jail. He had not been doing anything but remain on his bunk, sleeping.

It showed. In his last appearance in July, he was trim, almost shaven, had a crew cut and was vivacious enough to keep his head up and speak briefly, politely and somewhat normally to the judge (Matthew Foxman was on the bench in Flagler then). His lawyer, Ray Warren, even said he could be ready for trial later in summer. He wasn’t.

When Bova walked into court this afternoon, he looked like a wild creature brought in from the wilderness: exploding hair, unkempt beard, baggy eyes he kept closed most of the time, head bent, back bent. He looked as if he would have shuffled even without leg shackles. And that was the better part of him today. When he spoke, it got worse.

On several occasions, he threatened Craig that he would be killed in a matter of seconds, that four people in the building would die, that he was being held hostage and that the judge had only one choice: to let him go, or else. Craig was asking him simple questions, among them whether Bova himself felt competent to go to trial. Bova would not answer them. He’d repeat his threats, or make incomprehensible statements as he stood next to Warren.

“Sir I’m threatening your life,” he told the judge at one point.

“As I understand he’s not taking his medication in jail,” Assistant State Attorney Mark Johnson told the judge.

Warren has been trying for months to get Bova again declared incompetent to stand trial. The state had initially resisted, particularly last summer, when Bova acted more rationally, and after he had spent a stint in a state psychiatric facility. There, the question of his competence had revolved around Bova’s authenticity. Prosecutors doubted that he was truly incompetent. Rather, that he purposefully acted strangely in order to prolong his stay at the psychiatric facility, or to delay his trial. All along, he’d make allegations that people who would try to help him would be harmed–not by him, but by someone, or something. Today, he threatened harm himself.

When Craig opened his conversation by asking Bova how he was, Bova at first said he was “pretty good, sir,” before immediately correcting himself. “Actually, not so good.” He then spoke of an “emergency going on,” and “some kind of game that’s very important.” He said he had to be let out to deal with the emergency.

Craig asked Bova why he continues to refuse to talk to a doctor, as he has at the county jail.

“There’s no need to talk to a doctor,” Boval said.

“So you voluntarily decided not to talk to the doctor?” the judge asked.

Judge Dennis Craig

Judge Dennis Craig. (© FlaglerLive)

Bova, whenever he wasn’t speaking, would look down and to his left, as if suddenly oblivious to his surroundings. Even after the judge asked his questions, Bova would remain in that posture, as if he hadn’t heard the question, or didn’t want to answer. But he would then come out of that state, lift his head and answer, without quite making sense. He answered the judge’s question by mouthing something about President Barack Obama and the courthouse, suggesting that he wasn’t aware that there had been an election.

“Do you understand what the counsel is saying today about finding you incompetent?” the judge asked.

“Oh, sir, that’s just an irrelevant practice that’s trying to delay things,” he said.

“So you’d rather not be found incompetent?”

“I’m looking for a bail immediately,” Bova replied, “or there’s going to be a serious problem.”

The judge repeated his question about competency.

Long silence. Then: “Sir there’s going to be a death to at last four people in this building,” he said, if the judge didn’t let him out.

When Craig asked him if he at least understood what he was asking him, Bova repeated that he was being held hostage. Asked again, he told the judge: “You have seven seconds to respond the way you’re supposed to, sir.”

“All right, let me ask you again,” a patient Craig said, “do you think this issue of competency or incompetency–”

“There’ a death toll to at least four more of your council friends if you do not respond responsibly the way you’re supposed to,” Bova replied. A sheriff’s deputy stood two feet behind him, three others stood in a corner, closer to the judge, though they did not look any more alarmed than the judge. The room was full of people waiting their turn in an afternoon of pre-trials, jaws closer to the ground than usual for a court audience.

He refused to answer questions, calling them “irrelevant.” He then got rude, questioning the judge for not responding to his own questions. But at that point, the judge said he’d agree to declare him incompetent for now.

What that means is that for the first time in over a year, Bova will return to a psychiatric hospital, where he may be forced to take medication, even if it takes injections against his will. The local jail could not do so without doctors’ orders, nor would it want to expose itself to liability. In one instance, he was Baker Acted from the jail, thus ensuring that he would be medicated, at least temporarily.

The hospital is required to send a report to the judge every six months. Based on those reports, the case will be reopened, and competency again considered.

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21 Responses for “Joseph Bova, Accused Killer of Store Clerk, Again Declared Incompetent In Threatening Court Appearance”

  1. Veteran says:

    Put him in the looney bin and throw away the key.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This guy needs an MRI/CT Scan and a thorough physical evaluation that includes extensive blood work. He looks completely changed and side effects from medications do not account for it if he hasn’t been taking medications. Something organic is going on–Either that, or he is getting his hands on some substance of his own preference while in jail.

  3. Eric says:

    Not for nothing, but he looks like the Lion from the Wizard of Oz

  4. PeachesMcGee says:

    He sort of resembles the comedian Carrot Top. He’s screwed in the head too, but that’s from steroids.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Joe; show ’em how it’s done.

  6. Layla says:

    He’s a monster.

  7. Pcduou says:

    Eye for an eye

  8. Richard Smith says:

    Obviously his medication isn’t working so why not try a frontal lobotomy.

  9. Rick Belhumeur says:

    And we as taxpayers are paying for his welfare. How fair is that?

  10. The Ghost of America says:

    His face and the width and shape of his nose/brow area reminds me a lot of fetal alcohol syndrome, and if that’s the case then he’s not the genius criminal that fcso claims he is. He’s probably going to have a learning disability, hyperactivity issues, impulse control issues, and some pretty substantial mental health issues.

  11. Howard Duley says:

    This kid is smarter than the stupid legal system. I would release him and make him a lawyer.

  12. mark101 says:

    Such a waste of taxpayers money, lock him up in some mental place for life, or the guy is just playing a game acting the part of “I’m stupid”.

  13. David Schaefer says:

    Send him to stark…

  14. just the truth says:

    Does this nut case have any parents? He needs to go to a mental institution, not in a county jail.

  15. Robjr says:

    The man was judged incompetent form the beginning.

    Then he was put on drugs to make him competent?

    How many experimental drugs were given to him?

  16. Bwright says:

    Yes Eric I agree the cowardly lion!!!

  17. palmcoaster says:

    He executed in cold blood a hard working mother of several children all under the age of 18, while she was at her duties at work in that Rte 100 and I-95 gas station convenience store. She took a mother away forever from those kids. He deserves no mercy and I believe is playing the usual disguise of insanity BS.
    Mr. Bova deserves to be locked up for good….C’mon your honor do justice please!

  18. Traveling Rep says:

    This is just a stunt to prolong the inevitable. I hope his lawyer did not recommend his abstinence from his meds, in hopes of this incompetence judgment. I don’t know anything about the lawyer, but with the history here, it appears that someone is advising him. Perhaps fellow inmates have advised him? Which, is more likely. The victims in this case deserve better. Zuheily was a very sweet person, I am sure that her children could do with some semblance of closure on this. God Bless her children this Easter!

  19. Thomas says:

    He will con Craig.

  20. RIPZeuheili says:

    Being as I had to wash away my friends blood from what this monster did, can’t we just stop this circus? Who cares if he is not right in the head? You put down a rabid dog when it attacks someone. There is no excuse do not do the same here. The longer this goes on the more we disrespect her memory.

  21. MannyHM says:

    I’m in complete agreement. If I killed a totally innocent victim I should be put to death like a rabid dog; that’s balanced justice. A tilted justice that favors the ruthles killer does not deter crime, does not provide true justice, and it hurts deeply the victim’s relatives and concerned citizens.
    Please note that the victim is totally innocent like in this case.

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