A judge ruled Thursday that a man accused in an attempted rape on Vancouver’s Burnt Bridge Creek Trail was legally insane at the time of the incident and acquitted him of criminal charges.
Instead of being released from custody, however, 21-year-old Tremaine S. Rambo will be committed to Western State Hospital for an indeterminate amount of time.
Clark County Superior Judge Scott Collier deemed Rambo to be a “substantial danger” to other people, requiring him to be institutionalized.
Rambo was facing a charge of second-degree attempted rape in connection with the April 19 attack. He had grabbed a 26-year-old woman and tried to pull her off of the trail and take off her clothes, according to a probable cause affidavit. She had been exercising on the trail behind her apartment complex.
However, the woman had called her boyfriend before the attack and asked him to meet her because she had an uneasy feeling, the affidavit said.
The boyfriend arrived as the incident unfolded and punched Rambo in the face and forced him to the ground, according to court documents. Another man who came upon the scene assisted and they stayed with Rambo until police arrived.
Collier reached his decision Thursday after listening last week to a Western State Hospital psychologist, who testified on behalf of the defense.
That psychologist, Richard Yocum, determined Rambo suffered from an undiagnosed mental health issue at the time — possibly schizophrenia, court records said.
“As a result, it is my opinion that he lacked the capacity to perceive the nature and quality of his actions and lacked the capacity to know right from wrong,” Yocum wrote.
Witnesses reported seeing Rambo with a “crazed look” on the day of the incident. One man said he saw Rambo running up and down his street screaming. He said he also saw him walking in circles, looking up at the sky and occasionally making the sign of the cross on his body, according to Yocum’s report.
On the day of the attack, Rambo made superficial cuts to his arms and had feelings of paranoia, the report said. He had been fired from his job the day prior.
According to the report, he also told Yocum that in the week leading up to April 19, the TV and radio were talking to him about an impending apocalyptic event — “a solar flare, which would cause blackouts and fire coming down from the sky.”
Later in the day, he felt like he was in a godly state, he said, which prompted him to go outside for a run. When he saw the victim, he said, he saw a flash of light, like a spotlight, shine down on her and decided he was going to have her, according to the report.
The prosecution argued that Rambo was not insane at the time because he lacked significant history of mental illness. Rambo had also indicated to Yocum that he had some awareness that what he was doing was wrong, Deputy Prosecutor James Smith said in an interview.
Rambo’s daily marijuana use also may have contributed to the psychotic break, Yocum found, which is not an eligible defense, Smith added.