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Lee Was Declared Mentally Competent After First Montgomery Co. Arrest

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By Jonathan Wilson

Two days after police in Montgomery County, Maryland, fatally shot a man threatening hostages in downtown Silver Spring, more details are emerging about the man's past.

43-year-old James J. Lee, who took hostages in the lobby of the Discovery Channel's headquarters, had his first run-in with the law in California.

While living in San Diego, in 2003, Lee was convicted of smuggling illegal immigrants into the country.

Two years ago, in Maryland, Lee was charged with disorderly conduct for staging a protest of Discovery Channel programming outside the headquarters in Silver Spring.

Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy says Lee served 10 days in prison.

"At the time of his arraignment, a local judge, Eugene Wolf, ordered him to be evaluated," says McCarthy.

He says, Joseph Poirier, the doctor who performed the psychiatric evaluation, found no evidence of mental health issues at the time, and declared Lee competent to stand trial.

"He reported during his evaluation to Doctor Poirier that he'd never been under the care of a psychiatrist and never received assistance for psychiatric issues in the past," he says.

Lee was also placed on probation and ordered to stay away from the Discovery building.

That probation ended two weeks before Lee took hostages in the building's lobby.


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