Norfolk Public School teacher charged with arson to undergo competency evaluation


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Norfolk Public School teacher facing charges for arson had a motions hearing on Friday afternoon.

Records show that Ryan Elza is charged with one count of arson to an occupied dwelling for setting his neighbor’s house and cars on fire while the family of four was inside.

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On Friday, Elza’s attorney requested a competency evaluation, which was granted by the judge. Elza agreed to cooperate and see a doctor.

Eliza’s competency hearing will take place August 18th. The preliminary hearing is still set for September 30.

When 10 On Your Side spoke with Elza a few weeks ago at the Norfolk City Jail, he said he was currently under the care of a psychiatrist for mental health issues.

The requests and rulings follow a 1960 decision by the United States Supreme Court that outlined the basic standards for determining competency.

In Dusjy v. The United States, the court ruled to be competent to stand trial the defendant must have a “sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding” and a “rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him.”

Elza remains behind bars after his bond was denied.

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