Boland pleads not guilty, ordered to undergo evaluation

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Beaufort woman accused of trying to kill an Ashley Hall school official outside the downtown Charleston school in February pleaded not guilty to federal weapons charges last week.

Federal court documents state Alice Boland, 28, pleaded not guilty last Friday to the following charges: making a false statement in order to purchase a firearm; illegally possessing a firearm because of her status as a person who had been previously committed to a mental institution or who had been adjudicated as mentally incompetent; possession of a firearm in a school zone, and attempted discharge of a firearm in a school zone.

The charges stem from the Feb. 4 incident outside the school on Rutledge Avenue. Charleston Police Department investigators say Boland pointed a loaded handgun at an Ashley Hall school official and pulled the trigger multiple times.

The .22-caliber pistol, which Boland purchased just three days earlier in Walterboro, never fired because there was no bullet in the chamber.

Last Friday, Boland was ordered to be taken to Federal Medical Center Butner in Granville County, NC, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. A judge said court officials need to know if Alice Boland is competent for trial and also if she was insane at the time of her alleged offenses.  She will be returned to a facility in South Carolina following the evaluation, court documents state.

It is the second time Boland has been ordered to such a facility in connection with federal charges.

In 2005, Boland was sent to a medical center in Texas for evaluation after she was accused of threatening to kill President George W. Bush. Boland pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in that case and charges were dismissed in 2009.

Boland has a documented history of mentall illness, including paranoid schizophrenia and Asperger's syndrome. 

The case has prompted both state and federal lawmakers to propose legislation designed to make background more thorough in regards to mental illness and prospective gun-buyers.

Boland also faces state charges of attempted murder, two counts of pointing a firearm, unlawful carrying of a firearm, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the Ashley Hall incident.

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