Eric Leroy Patterson

Eric Leroy Patterson

A man accused of beating a woman with a stick and robbing her in Corvallis last month should undergo an evaluation to determine if he is mentally fit to stand trial, a judge ordered Friday.

Eric Leroy Patterson, 37, is charged with first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and second-degree disorderly conduct, court records show.

Patterson’s attorney, Mike Flinn, filed a motion in the case stating his client should be evaluated to determine if he fully understands the proceedings and can aid and assist in his defense. However, Patterson reportedly refused to undergo the evaluation when a doctor visited the Benton County Jail, where Patterson is being held on bond, Flinn said.

Benton County Circuit Court Judge Locke Williams said he will be forced to send Patterson to the Oregon State Hospital for evaluation if he does not comply.

“I’m going to protect your rights for you,” Williams told the defendant. “I will ensure you receive a fair trial.”

The judge told Patterson he would have the doctor visit the jail again to complete the evaluation.

The alleged robbery and assault took place Sept. 26 outside the Benton County Courthouse, police have said. A witness told police she saw Patterson walking north on Northwest Fifth Street with a large wooden stick, according to police. The witness said Patterson hit the alleged victim, Tiffany Rice, five or six times with the stick, police said.

The witness also told officers she saw Patterson tug at Rice’s purse and take it from her, according to police.

Lillian Schrock covers public safety for the Gazette-Times. She may be reached at 541-758-9548 or lillian.schrock@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LillieSchrock. 

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