Murder charges against 36-year-old Lance J. Ferguson, a Kingston man being held for the August 9 slaying of a homeless man near an encampment on the banks of the Esopus Creek, have been put on hold after a court declared him incompetent to stand trial.
On August 11, Guy Andradez, 58, was found stabbed to death beneath a tarpaulin in a patch of woods near the Exit 19 traffic circle in the Town of Ulster. Andradez had spent much of summer living in a tent by the creek in a homeless encampment known to its residents as Tent Village.
A fellow resident of the encampment said that Ferguson spent his days panhandling at the nearby Quickchek gas station and knew Andradez. Police believe Ferguson stabbed Andradez to death some time on the evening of August 9. Ferguson was arrested at a Kingston residence on August 12 following an investigation by Town of Ulster police. At the time, prosecutors said that Ferguson had made statements to police regarding the murder.
On Tuesday, September 17 an Ulster County grand jury handed up an indictment charging Ferguson with a single count of second-degree murder. But further action in the case will have to wait after Ferguson was deemed incompetent to stand trial following a court-ordered psychological evaluation. That determination means that the court found Ferguson incapable of understanding the charges against him or meaningfully participating in his defense. The ruling only deals with the suspect’s mental state at the time of the hearing. It does not establish a psychological defense for the actual crime.
According to chief assistant district attorney Mike Kavanagh, the ruling means that Ferguson will be confined to a secure state mental hospital for treatment and periodically reevaluated to determine his fitness for trial.