A 19-year-old man charged with murder in a 2018 shooting rampage at a Texas high school that left eight students and two teachers dead has been declared incompetent to stand trial by three psychiatric experts, his attorney says.
The Houston Chronicle reports that the accused gunman, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, was evaluated independently by three experts, all of whom agreed that he was not fit to stand trial in his current mental state, says Nick Poehl, a defense attorney in the case.
Prosecutors will not contest that finding, Poehl says.
Pagourtzis is charged with capital murder in the shooting spree at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, that killed 10 and wounded 13 in May 2018. Pagourtzis, a junior at the high school at the time, admitted to the shooting after his arrest, according to court documents.
District Judge John Ellisor is expected sign off on the experts’ findings that Pagourtzis is incompetent, and Pagourtzis likely will be sent to a mental health facility for evaluation.
Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady declined to comment on the experts’ findings, saying only that his office was spending the day reaching out to families of the shooting victims with the news.
Steve Perkins, whose wife, Ann, a substitute teacher, was gunned down as she ushered students in her gym class to safety on the morning of the shootings, said he doesn’t believe Pagourtzis lacks understanding of what happened.
“I think it’s an injustice,” Perkins says. “I believe he knew what he was doing (when the shooting happened), and he knows what he’s doing now.”
Witnesses to gthe shooting attack say 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 the students he liked, he later told police.