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Hay competent to stand trial – Part 4

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Nathan Frederick Hay has been incarcerated in the Bandera County Jail the facility since October 2014. In February, a three-day trial was held at the 198th District Court to determine Hay’s competency to stand trial and assist in his defense for alleged criminal actions.
Hay has been charged with several felonies related to continual sexual abuse of a child and manufacture and delivery of methamphetamine. In just 15 minutes of deliberation, a jury found Hay competent.
During the competency trial, Jail Administrator Cary Berger was called as a state’s witness. Berger assessed Hay as being “intelligent and polite” with “no difficulty in communication.”
Explaining the facility’s telephone policy, Berger said inmates use telephones installed in their cells and that calls from the jail require a pin number and inmate voice certification. Berger also noted that inmates are aware that their calls are recorded and some are being monitored.
Knowledge of
legal system
During the trial, 198th Assistant District Attorney Stephen Harpold entered into evidence a series of 25 calls made by Hay to underscore the state’s contention that the defendant had extensive knowledge of the legal system – and of the charges against him.
In a call to his wife on March 24, 2014, Hay exhorted her to raise funds amounting to “10 to 20 percent” of his total bond, which could be from “$5,000 to $20,000.”
During the same call, he asked his stepdaughter to “… call Bubba and let him know what’s going on. I want to make sure the house is all cleaned up.” He also spoke disparagingly of others who had allegedly assisted him in methamphetamine manufacture on March 23 and 24, 2014, noting they “… had no brains sending you to drive while I was passed out in the car.”
His stepdaughter replied, “It was my choice. No one told me to do it. I kinda wanted to get out of there.”
At 3:30 am, March 24, 2014, Hay’s 14-year-old stepdaughter was stopped by a deputy city marshal for erratic driving. Hay, meanwhile, was asleep in the back of the Suburban. After a K-9 dog alerted to drugs in the vehicle, Hay was arrested and his stepdaughter released to the custody of her mother.
Additionally, during the call, Hay noted to his wife that there was “no probable cause” for the traffic stop.
Question of
During a phone call to his father on Oct. 9, 2014, the question of competency – and the specter of Hay having multiple personalities – was raised. To that assertion, Hay’s father rejoined, “I got multiple personalities in my back pocket. How many do you want? I don’t buy that s**t.”
Later during a call to Germany, Hay spoke fluent German to his first wife, which apparently came as a surprise to everyone. No translation of the conversation was provided.
On Oct. 11, Hay demanded the return of his “passport, laptop and wallet,” which had been seized by authorities during the traffic stop. Hay also said, “They may put me in the loony bin, but I don’t care. I’ll take a plea bargain for the drugs, but for the [sexual allegations], I’ll take everyone down with me.”
November’s profanity-laced phone calls included Hay seemingly exploring options of either fleeing to Germany or “getting out and flying right.” In one call, Hay’s father said, “There’s nothing wrong with your mind, but you got a rebellious streak like James Dean. A rebellious attitude ain’t a friend.”
Additionally, Hay offered an explanation of what had occurred in the early morning hours of March 24, 2014. According to Hay, after he finished (playing) “Betty Crocker,” he and his wife had a fight and he fell asleep in the backseat of the car, at which time his stepdaughter and a person Hay referred to as Wild Bill “went for a drive to Exotic Acres.”
However, by the time of the traffic stop, “Wild Bill” had vacated the scene and what appeared to be a mobile meth lab had apparently taken his place.
‘Won’t be in
jail much longer’
Phone calls in December brought discussions of “I won’t be in jail much longer, but I won’t be free either.” Hay told his father to look up ASH Hospital in Austin. “We’ll talk more when we’re not being listened to,” Hay said, adding, “They’ll put me in a mental hospital for evaluation.”
In fact, according to the facility’s website, the Austin State Hospital (ASH) provides psychiatric care to a 38-county region in Central Texas. ASH admits over 4,000 patients in a fiscal year, and discharges about the same number. The average daily patient load is 292. ASH medical providers attempt to stabilize people with acute psychiatric illness so they can return to the community.
During calls on Dec. 8, 9 and 10, 2014, Hay read from Dr. Lisa Watts’ evaluation that stated: “It is my professional opinion that Mr. Hay is incompetent to stand trial.”
According to Hay, the report would “get me out of jail with a ‘not guilty’ verdict.” He continued, “I’ll be in a mental institution for a while, probably in Austin. Things are looking up. I’ll go there and when I’m released, I’m done – no probation, no [sex] registry and charges dropped. I’m pretty much done with court.”
Possible plea bargain?
Hay also appeared to be fully aware of the length of time law enforcement officers have to charge him, indict him and take him to trial. He referenced a plea bargain in which he was offered 30 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with an eligibility for parole in 15 years.
Musing about a possible change of venue, Hay asked, “Do you think we can get a fair trial (in Bandera)?
Hay’s father replied, “We can’t even get a fair offer.”
By August 2015, however, all thoughts of a possible transfer to a mental hospital seemed to be gone. “Tony said to me if I just stay here, he’ll keep me out of prison,” Hay said, adding “If I’m found guilty they’ll throw me in prison forever.”
Hay also spoke about a hearing held to suppress the findings of incompetency of Dr. Lisa Watts. Earlier, she had declared him incompetent to stand trial. Her opinion was eventually excluded.
Hay’s defense attorney Anton “Tony” Hackebeil had few questions for Berger about the potentially devastating phone calls made by his client.

(The Thursday, March 24, edition of the Bandera County Courier will cover the testimony of state’s witness forensic psychologist Dr. Raleigh Wood.)