The young man charged with capital murder in the 2018 massacre of eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School will continue to be evaluated at a mental health facility for up to a year to see if he regains competency to stand trial.
The accused gunman, 19-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, was ordered by a state district court in Galveston on Wednesday to remain committed to the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon for at least 12 months, where he has been in custody since November. The order was signed by Judge John Ellisor after hospital experts submitted a report declaring Pagourtzis not competent, nor likely to become so, in the next 90 days.
8炫彩彩票开户Pagourtzis was evaluated independently by three experts in October, all of whom agreed that he was not fit to stand trial.
Nick Poehl, one of Pagourtzis’ defense attorneys, said his client could be restored to competency sooner, and if a year passes without a change in his mental state, “we have to reasses.”
“The thinking was that he was not likely to be restored within the additional 90-day period that was available, so they asked for a more indefinite extended commitment of up to one year,” Poehl said. “And all parties — the prosecution, the defense and the court — agreed to that.”
Evaluations of competency to stand trial speak to a suspect’s state of mind at the time that a trial would begin, while an insanity plea addresses the suspect’s state of mind at the time of a crime.
8炫彩彩票开户Pagourtzis is charged with capital murder in the shooting rampage that killed 10 and wounded 13 in May 2018. A junior at the high school at the time, Pagourtzis admitted to being the mass shooter after his arrest, according to court documents. Classmates described him as a quiet student who played junior varsity football, and was also an honor roll student.
8炫彩彩票开户Witnesses said Pagourtzis entered the school with a long dark trench coat that he frequently wore, concealing what police later identified as his father's sawed-off Remington shotgun and a .38 pistol. He planted explosives that did not detonate and selected his targets so as to spare students he liked, he later told police.
Pagourtzis faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years if convicted.
Poehl said he spoke with Pagourtzis by phone while he was in custody at the maximum-security hospital in Vernon. Poehl said that based on those conversations with Pagourtzis, he “was not shocked” by the hospital’s report.
“He participates in therapy sessions, he participates in some classes that are geared towards restoring competency,” Poehl said. “He does interact with other patients on a limited basis. His behavior dictates exactly how close his supervision is. Sometimes he has to be constantly in the presence of a staff member, other times it’s more relaxed. It varies and I couldn’t really tell you how those criteria work.”
Pagourtzis is not being held in solitary confinement at the mental health facility. He is receiving medication and his parents and family members have been able to visit him.
His parents are also defendants in a civil lawsuit8炫彩彩票开户 alleging they knew their son was exhibiting extreme behavior but failed to prevent him from accessing their firearms, which authorities say were used in the shooting. The parents maintain they were not negligent and that they did as much as they could for their son.
Poehl said he has asked the hospital to provide quarterly updates on Pagourtzis’ condition and that he hoped to have another update in 90 days.