A probationer was Thursday found mentally competent to stand trial on charges stemming from a pepper-spray attack that affected several people, including a young girl, and the theft of a cell phone during a brawl that broke out at Palm Springs’ weekly VillageFest last year.
Dylon Cook’s attorney had raised doubts last summer about her client’s fitness to assist in his defense, resulting in a suspension of criminal proceedings in the case pending a competency evaluation.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Charles Koosed’s ruling clears the way for the 34-year-old defendant to proceed to trial on charges of robbery, possession of tear gas with prior felony convictions and two counts of inflicting injury on a child, along with a misdemeanor count of providing false identification to a peace officer.
Cooke, who is being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center, is due back in court for a felony settlement conference on Tuesday.
Officers were called about 10 p.m. last Aug. 9 to the 100 block of South Palm Canyon Drive in response to “a large fight and possible assault with a deadly weapon,” during which Cooke allegedly pepper-sprayed an unidentified victim. Police said “several bystanders” were also affected by the pepper spray, including a 9-year-old girl and a 17-year-old boy, who were treated at the scene by paramedics.
The uproar was initially reported as a stabbing, but police said those reports turned out to be false.
Cooke was arrested near the scene and allegedly gave officers a false name to hide that he was on Post Release Community Supervision, stemming from an unspecified prior offense.
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