Henley Found Not Competent to Stand Trial

Two forensic examiners have found Willie N. Henley not competent to stand trial. Today, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office consented to the defendant being transferred to the Rochester Psychiatric Center for mental health treatment.

Henley, 61, of no permanent address, was arraigned on one count of Assault in the Second Degree and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Third Degree (Class “D” felonies) in Buffalo City Court on September 14, 2020. It is alleged that on Saturday, September 12, 2020, at approximately 3:00 pm, the defendant struck a Buffalo Police Officer twice with an aluminum baseball bat. The defendant was subsequently shot by a police officer, but survived the injury.

At the time of the alleged incident, the defendant was wanted on a bench warrant from May 2018 for failure to appear in Mental Health Court. The defendant pleaded guilty to one count of Criminal Mischief (Class “A” misdemeanor) for hitting a police officer during an arrest in December 2017.

An initial forensic examination was ordered by the Court to assess his mental health after his arraignment. The defendant remained in custody pending the results of the forensic exam. At that time, two doctors found Henley competent to stand trial.

On November 17, 2020, the defendant’s public defender made a bail motion after housing and mental health treatment had been secured for the defendant. Prosecutors consented to the motion and the defendant was released to the custody of a family member on signature bond.

In February, a family member contacted the DA’s Office to report that the defendant, who was still living with the family member, had made threats. Prosecutors presented a bail motion to the Court to return the defendant to custody. When the defendant failed to appear in Court on the motion, a bench warrant was issued on February 19, 2021.

The defendant was taken into custody without incident on February 21, 2021. When he appeared in Buffalo City Court, a second forensic evaluation was ordered by the Court. Last week, two doctors found the defendant not competent to stand trial.

This morning, Buffalo City Court Judge Debra Givens signed the temporary order of observation. The defendant will be transferred to the facility in Rochester where his competency will be re-evaluated in 90 days.