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Accused White House Shooter Faces More Mental Tests

Monday, 28 Nov 2011 03:54 PM

 

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* Prosecutors seek fuller mental evaluation

* Initial screening found him competent

By Jeremy Pelofsky

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A doctor has determined that a man accused of trying to assassinate President Barack Obama this month is competent to stand trial, but prosecutors Monday asked for a fuller evaluation.

Prosecutors are seeking a competency hearing and a full psychological screening of Oscar Ortega-Hernandez. He has been charged with trying to kill Obama when he opened fire on the White House with a semi-automatic assault rifle.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, were in California at the time of the gunfire the night of Nov. 11.

An initial screening ordered by a federal magistrate on Nov. 21 concluded that Ortega-Hernandez was competent, according to a court filing.

"The government notes that it was based only on a 50-minute screening and submits a full psychiatric or psychological screening ... is warranted, given the serious nature of the criminal charges pending against the defendant and the likelihood that mental health issues may arise in the course of these proceedings," the prosecutors said in a motion.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay agreed to delay a detention hearing until Dec. 12 and asked prosecutors to provide "more substance" to their motion.

Ortega-Hernandez, 21, of Idaho Falls, Idaho, was ordered held pending that hearing.

Witnesses interviewed by authorities said Ortega-Hernandez had called the president the "devil" and "anti-Christ."

His abandoned car was found blocks from the White House after the Friday night shooting. He was arrested at a hotel near Indiana, Pennsylvania, the following Wednesday.

If convicted, Ortega-Hernandez faces up to life in prison. (Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Doina Chiacu)

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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