Crestwood man, 54, suffered stroke in jail, still needs evaluation

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By Jacquelyn Stoess Hack

The mental status of a Crestwood man indicted for sexual abuse of a teenager is still unclear after the defendant suffered a stroke nearly three months ago at the Oldham County Jail.

Toby Mason, 54, faces 15 criminal charges, including use of a minor in a sexual performance, sodomy and custodial inference for sex acts he allegedly performed and videotaped with a teen girl in 2011.

Mason suffered a stroke shortly after indictment in January. He now uses a wheelchair and is housed in a medical unit at the Kentucky State Reformatory while awaiting trial.

Matt Pippin, his court-appointed attorney, said in February he is not comfortable with Mason going to trial or discussing a plea agreement without a clear picture of Mason’s capabilities.

Pippin petitioned the court in February to delay Mason’s trial pending a neuropsychological evaluation.

Mason spoke softly and deliberately when he approached Circuit Judge Karen Conrad’s bench and she granted the petition for evaluation.

“If the evaluation shows you are capable of considering all ramifications of a guilty plea, I want to know that and your attorney needs to know that,” Conrad said.

Mason, now 54, fled to Miami two years ago with a 16-year-old girl he met several months earlier while playing video games.

Ten days later, U.S. Marshals located the teenager in a Miami motel room with Mason and another local man, Edgar Kidwell, more than 1,000 miles away from home.

Mason did not have a car, and the teenager did not have a driver’s license.

Investigators said the runaway teen told a handful of friends she was headed to Florida with Mason before she left town.

Mason has rejected plea agreements from the Commonwealth Attorney’s office, however, Pippin has said an evaluation is necessary whether Mason goes to trial as scheduled or discussion of a plea agreement continues.

Neuropsychological tests evaluate intelligence, executive functions (such as planning, abstraction, conceptualization), attention, memory, language, perception, motivation, mood state and emotion, quality of life and personality styles.

But little progress has been made in the eight weeks since Pippin petitioned for the evaluation.

Pippin told Judge Karen Conrad that the evaluation is delayed due to paperwork and he is to blame.

During a hearing April 18, Pippin said doctors have quoted a substantial amount of money to complete the evaluation, and are concerned about receiving payment for their service.

Pippin said the Department of Public Advocacy has provided everything necessary for the evaluation, “It’s just my inexperience,” he said.

Conrad scheduled a hearing May 9 to hear the status of Mason’s evaluation.

He last appeared in court Feb. 15.

“We need to get something going on this because he’s been out of pocket for awhile,” Conrad said.

Mason is held on a $50,000 bond.

According to the Department of Public Advocacy, public defenders assigned to Oldham County district and circuit court, including Pippin, opened 753 cases in 2012, including 205 criminal cases.

The mother of Mason’s alleged victim told The Oldham Era in 2011 that Mason is the first person she spoke to — even before she notified police — as she searched for her daughter.

Mason answered the teenager’s phone and told her mother that the teen had “wanted to do something like” leave home for a while.

The mother said she wished she had trusted her gut feeling about Mason.

When she first met him, she thought of him as overconfident and arrogant. Mason told stories about working for the CIA that didn’t add up, she said.

“I blame myself, too, for being so trusting and naive and not questioning him more,” the mother said in 2011. 

Only one charge – custodial interference – is related to Mason’s trip to Florida with the teenager. All other charges stem from incidents that allegedly occurred after Dec. 1, 2010, and prior to the teenager’s 16th birthday. In Kentucky, the age of consent is 16.

According to the teen’s mother, Mason allegedly gave the girl a cell phone earlier in 2011.

Mason’s previous felony conviction – failure to register as a broker, sales of unregistered securities and theft by failure to make required disposition of property – took place in August 2009 in Jefferson County.

Email us about this story at: editor@oldhamera.com.