Confessed Santa Fe shooter's lawyers want judge on case removed, claim bias
HOUSTON - Following the judge overseeing the Santa Fe High School shooting case saying an independent examiner was assigned to review the admitted Santa Fe High School shooter's competency to stand trial, the defense team for the alleged shooter requests the judge be removed.
According to court documents, the lawyers claim Judge Jeth Jones met with the North Texas State Hospital (NTSH) Superintendent Jim Smith. NTSH is where confessed Santa Fe High School shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, remains mentally incompetent to stand trial.
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The document states Judge Jones "requested or encouraged that a full competency evaluation be done on the Defendant by an outside expert, notwithstanding the recency of the Court's February 1st. 2023 order finding that Defendant was still incompetent and that said the condition was "expected to continue for more than 90 days."
On March 10, Judge Jones ordered a "disinterest expert experienced and qualified in mental health" to examine his competency to stand trial and submit a report in 30 days.
However, the defense was opposed considering on Feb. 1, the state hospital said he remained mentally incompetent.
MORE: Confessed Santa Fe shooter remains incompetent to stand trial
The lawyers say Judge Jones "has demonstrated a bias" due to his alleged meeting with Superintendent Smith and his motion for an independent examiner is to make it seem like the Court is doing something or a way for Pagourtzis to be deemed competent.
Psychiatrist doctor Joseph Penn has already been appointed to conduct the evaluation, and he will have 30 days to do so.