Man deemed incompetent for trial in child kidnapping, murder

MEDIA, Pa. (AP) — A man accused of having kidnapped and killed his girlfriend’s 7-month-old son in the Philadelphia suburbs almost eight years ago has been deemed incompetent to stand trial for the foreseeable future due to mental illness.

Doctors from Norristown State Hospital testified at a Delaware County hearing late last month that the mental illness of 30-year-old Ummad Rushdi is not improving, making him unable to participate in a trial or accept a plea deal from prosecutors.

Rushdi was admitted to the hospital in 2018 after he was ruled incompetent for trial after five years in the county jail, and court-ordered medication hasn't changed his condition, officials said. He has been charged with murder, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse since the 2013 disappearance of 7-month-old Hamza Ali.

Psychologist Jared Moore testified that Rushdi has paranormal and supernatural delusions and believes the “devil is trying to use the system to break him down.” Moore said it would be best for Rushdi to stay at the state hospital. Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Wills agreed and said that while the criminal case will remain active should his condition improve, the state hospital is the safest place for him to be.

Authorities said the child was kidnapped in August 2013 from the Upper Darby home of Rushdi's parents, and they allege he killed the boy and disposed of the body. The remains were never found despite a search of the borough and the rural York County area where the defendant shared a home with the boy’s mother and other relatives.

In 2014, a detective testified that while being advised of his rights, Rushdi blurted out that he was sorry for what he did, that he had shaken the crying baby, who stopped breathing, the Delaware County Daily Times reported. He said he tried to give the child CPR, then buried him in York County, the detective said. He refused to say where, saying he “could only be judged by God,” authorities said.

Retired Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said the effective conclusion of the case didn’t surprise him given the defendant's mental health issues, but he expressed frustration over the child’s disappearance.

“To this day, there’s no doubt in my mind that he knows where that baby is,” Chitwood told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “And he’s the only one who could tell us.”