Man accused of trying to kidnap child may not face a jury

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A man charged with trying to kidnap a 10-year-old girl, not once but twice, was in court Monday.

A court mental evaluation ruled Tavius Woods is incompetent to stand trial.

Now, his attorney Blake Ballin is working to get the charges thrown out.

"Mr. Woods has been evaluated for competency. Based on his intellectual abilities, the doctor who evaluated him sent a letter to Judge Anderson saying he is not competent and never will be.," said Ballin.

Woods is accused of trying to kidnap a 10-year-old girl from Germanshire Elementary twice in April.

Woods' mother told WREG her son has autism and down syndrome and doesn't know right from wrong.

"Normally what happens when someone is not competent, they try to train that person to become competent. Because of the severity of his disabilities, he is unable to be trained," said Ballin.

In 2014, Woods was charged with solicitation of a minor and aggravated sexual battery of a ten-nine-year-old girl, who is also the sister of the Germanshire student he allegedly tried to kidnap in April.

The court ruled back then he wasn't competent to stand trial. The charges were dismissed and later expunged from his record.

Police said Woods also tried to recently kidnap the older sister but was never charged.

In a text message, the victim's mother expressed frustration.

She said in part, "My children are in counseling. I give him a few months, and he'll be back at it." She also stated, "They think he's incompetent when he knows what he's doing."

Woods attorney says he is working to get the charges dismissed next month.

"Because his disabilities are so severe, he is someone who can't even be prosecuted," said Ballin.

Woods' mother said her son worked around children at "tons of" Shelby County SChools including Oakshire and Oakhaven Elementary Schools before his record was expunged.

On Monday, WREG asked SCS for an interview again about its hiring process and giving any mental health evaluations.

The media relations team just sent a statement saying in part, "All individuals are required to go through a background check," and if there are any red flags, "a determination will be made as to whether SCS should continue with the individual's candidacy."

The Tennessee Department of Education released a statement saying, "There is no law requiring or authorizing mental health evaluations for school employees. However, schools are required to conduct the background checks under TCA 49-5-413 for teachers and all employees working in close proximity to students. These checks include a criminal history records check conducted by the TBI/FBI and a check of DCS's database. No person may be hired that DCS had indicated as a perpetrator of child abuse. With the exception of certain serious convictions, districts determine who they choose to hire after receiving the results of the TBI/FBI results." 

WREG found out the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation warned the district about hiring Woods in 2016.

There was no word on specifics about why the district continued with Woods hiring at the time.


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