Santa Fe High School shooter sent to state hospital again for mental health treatment as capital murder trial remains on hold

Santa Fe High School shooter sent to state hospital again for mental health treatment as capital murder trial remains on hold

Santa Fe High School shooter sent to state hospital again for mental health treatment as capital murder trial remains on hold

Jennifer Reynolds/”Galveston County Daily News”, Associated Press, Pool

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a Santa Fe High School student accused of killing 10 people in the May 18, 2018, high school shooting, is escorted into the jury room by Galveston County Sheriff’s Office deputies to attend a hearing in Galveston Stone County Change of Venue Hearing Monday, February 25, 2019, Galveston, Texas Courthouse.

Nearly six years have passed since a Houston-area high school student fatally shot eight classmates and two teachers.

It may be at least a year before Santa Fe High School shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 23, stands trial for this heinous crime.

A Galveston County judge last week ordered that Pagourtzis, who has been confined to North Texas State Hospital in Vernon since November 2019, remains mentally incompetent to stand trial and will be recommitted for up to 12 months. time and continue to receive restorative treatment. Pagourtzis is charged with murder and aggravated assault on a public servant for his role in a mass shooting on May 18, 2018, in which 10 people were killed and 13 injured.

“This is yet another extremely disappointing and disheartening news,” Galveston County District Attorney Jack Rudy said in a statement. “Yet the defendant remains incarcerated and charged with capital murder and aggravated assault on a peace officer.” charges and efforts to restore him to competency continue. We remain hopeful and committed to seeing this case brought to trial and justice served.”

RELATED: Santa Fe high school shooter remains mentally incompetent to stand trial, further delaying case from 5 years ago

Pagourtzis’ defense attorney Nick Poole said Monday the recommitment order was expected. His client has been readmitted to a state hospital by three different judges each year for the past five years, with orders based on mental health evaluations by multiple doctors.

In the latest order, Judge Lonnie Cox determined that Pagourtzis “suffers severe and unusual mental, emotional, or physical pain,” is “incapable of making a rational and informed decision about receiving treatment,” and is “likely to causing serious harm to another person,” court records show. Pearl said Pagourtzis “has not made significant progress in the last year,” adding that he didn’t know if his client would at some point be deemed adequate. ability to stand trial.

RELATED: Galveston County judge removed from capital murder case involving Santa Fe high school shooting

Pearl said last February that Pagourtzis’s mental state at the time of the shooting and whether he should be held legally responsible for the victim’s death and injuries will be key arguments at his trial. Pearl added, “We have never questioned his conduct. This is not a controversial issue.”

“The hospital said they still believe he can recover,” Pearl said Monday. “It’s a long way from saying he’s going to be that. They’ve been working on it and we’ve been waiting.”

In his recommitment order, Cox said Pagourtzis’ condition is expected to last 90 days or longer and plans to schedule a court hearing in the next month or so asking the state hospital to provide more information about Pagourtzis’ treatment and progress, according to Rudy statement. Pearl said he and prosecutors are discussing with the judge bringing in doctors from North Texas State Hospital so they can testify and “provide an update and shed some light on this matter.”

“The office will remain in contact with the victim and her family as further details are developed,” Roddy said.

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