A Utah judge on Thursday ordered a convicted sex offender freed from a state hospital after the man was deemed incompetent for trial, but not a danger to society.
Prosecutors wanted Lonnie Hyrum Johnson to stay at the Utah State Hospital for continued treatment so he could eventually face the nearly two dozen counts against him of rape, sodomy and aggravated sexual assault of a child, but did not object to the judge’s ruling.
“The constitution prohibits me from holding someone who has not been convicted and who cannot participate in their own defense,” 4th District Judge James R. Taylor said.
Johnson was eligible to be freed as early as Thursday afternoon — privacy laws prevent hospital officials from commenting. Still, Johnson is not off the hook.
Taylor did not dismiss the case and ordered Johnson to meet with new psychiatric evaluators in October. A hearing on those findings is set for Nov. 17.
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