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Published: Thursday, 3/29/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Ex-fire inspector to get psychiatric care

Wolever charged in assaults on stations

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kevin Wolever, with attorney George Gerken, left, appears in Lucas County Common Pleas Court and is sent to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital. A former fire inspector, Wolever was found not guilty by reason of insanity March 16 to charges linked to three assaults on area fire houses. Kevin Wolever, with attorney George Gerken, left, appears in Lucas County Common Pleas Court and is sent to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital. A former fire inspector, Wolever was found not guilty by reason of insanity March 16 to charges linked to three assaults on area fire houses.
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A shackled Kevin Wolever offered a constrained wave to his family as he was led from Lucas County Common Pleas Court to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital.

The former city fire inspector was ordered committed Wednesday after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity March 16 to charges associated with assaults on local fire stations.

Judge Linda Jennings found "by clear and convincing evidence" that Wolever was a mentally ill person in need of hospitalization.

Judge Jennings noted the maximum amount of time Wolever would be held under the court's jurisdiction was 16 years.

Wolever's attorney, George Gerken, said after the hearing the hospital would be the best place for Wolever to manage his mental issues and to work toward returning to society. He said how long that takes will depend on how hard Wolever works.

"One of the things everyone had been concerned about was his non-compliance with taking his medication," Mr. Gerken said. "… His progress and their reviews will be the determining factor on what is the next step."

Wolever, 32, the son of former fire Chief Mike Wolever, was charged with two counts of improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation and one count each of aggravated arson and felonious assault.

During a brief trial March 16 before Judge Jennings, Toledo police Detective Jay Gast testified about each of the three incidents in September -- two shootings at Station 6, 642 Starr Ave., and an incendiary device left at Station 18, 5221 Lewis Ave.

The detective testified he learned during the investigation that Wolever suffers from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, and that Wolever admitted during an interview he was not taking his prescribed medication.

On computers taken during a search of his residence, investigators found audio and video files in which Wolever recited events he perceived to be happening around him. In some of the files, which were not played in court, Wolever reportedly talked about hearing voices and ideas as well mentioning gremlins.

According to its Web site, the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital on Detroit Avenue in Toledo is one of six statewide hospitals operated by the Ohio Department of Mental Health that offers "both inpatient and community-supported environments."

Mr. Gerken said although there may be a community perception that Wolever "got away with something," he will be confined to the hospital until he is ready to be moved to the next step, which still would include continued treatment.

Every year, a percentage of people sentenced to prison has mental health issues and comes out with the same problems, Mr. Gerken said.

"By [Wolever] getting help, the chance of someone getting hit by a stray bullet fired by Kevin Wolever is unlikely," he said.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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