PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Friday, a Providence man faced a judge for the first time after he was accused of brutally beating a couple in their 70s. Court officials appear to be concerned for the suspect’s mental state.
Police said Viden Chhoeun, 25, started beating Raphael and Maricela Carraso on Wednesday night after they’d stopped on Linwood Avenue near Cranston Street.
In court Friday morning, Chhoeun failed to respond to the judge’s questions. His public defender asked to approach the bench for a private ‘sidebar’ conversation — that led to the judge ordering a competency evaluation, and telling officials to monitor Chhouen for possible self-harm. The judge ordered him held without bail.
The day before, Providence Police Maj. David Lapatin was unequivocal: “I don’t know what would make any man do that,” to savagely attack the couple.
The husband’s vehicle had run out of gas at the intersection; the wife came to his aid with a can full of gasoline.
That’s when police say Chhoeun ran from his home yelling, and beating the husband in the head and face with a metal baseball bat, then turning to the wife and knocking her out. At last check, the husband was in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital; his wife was listed in serious condition.
Elsie Ricci, who lives on the street, said she is shocked by the assault.
“I will not walk in the dark by myself,” she said. “And Halloween – this door’s getting locked.”
The victims family said they did not want to go on camera – and they are very concerned about their parents’ conditions.
Chhoeun has a pending case of simple assault and resisting arrest dating back to June, according to court records. He’s due back in court in two weeks.