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Accused child-klller mentally competent experts: Ault faking multiple personalities

Psychological reports on accused child-killer Howard Steven Ault reveal what the attorneys in the case suspected all along: that Ault is competent to stand trial.

The reports also said his claims of having multiple personalities were a fraud.

Circuit Judge Marc Gold ordered competency examinations by three local experts to determine if Ault was emotionally fit to assist his court-appointed attorney with his defense. He released the reports Friday after a brief hearing.

Each expert said Ault met six legal standards for competency and recommended that he stand trial.

Ault, a state-registered sexual predator, is accused of killing sisters DeAnn Mu'min, 11, and Alicia Jones, 7. He also is accused of sexually assaulting the older girl. Police found their bodies in the attic of Ault's Fort Lauderdale apartment on Nov. 5, 1996.

Prosecutor Timothy Donnelly and Assistant Public Defender William Laswell declined to comment after the hearing. Gold imposed a gag order on both attorneys concerning the psychological reports after a hearing two weeks ago. Both attorneys have said they never doubted that Ault was incompetent to stand trial.

Psychologists Harley Stock and Michael Brannon, and psychiatrist Ricardo Castillo also said in separate reports that Ault, 31, is not mentally ill. "Mr. Howard Ault is not suffering from any form of mental disease, defect or infirmity which would interfere in his present ability to participate in the legal process, " Brannon wrote.

Ault has said he suffers from multiple personality disorder and that one of his personalities, Richard, drove him to kill. Stock questioned Ault about these "personalities" in depth and concluded that Ault had made "a poor attempt at malingering a multiple personality disorder."

"Mr. Ault's judgment is clearly impaired, but in this examiner's opinion, this is a reflection of his anti-social personality disorder and not the result of any mental illness, " Stock wrote.

A tentative trial date has been scheduled for February.