Houston Chronicle

Santa Fe suspect may be assessed again

- By Matt deGrood STAFF WRITER

The man accused of killing 10 people in the 2018 mass shooting at Santa Fe High School soon could face another mental health evaluation to determine whether he can stand trial.

Judge Jeth Jones of the 122nd District Court in Galveston County likely will appoint and designate a new psychologi­st to conduct a competency evaluation on 22-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, Kevin Petroff, first assistant district attorney, confirmed Thursday. The status conference is set for 10 a.m. Friday.

Petroff declined to comment on the matter beyond confirming the status conference.

The news comes about a month after Jones finalized an order to keep Pagourtzis committed for up to a year at the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon based on mental health evaluation­s of two doctors. It’s not yet clear what might have changed to convince the judge to call for a new evaluation.

Pagourtzis is facing charges of capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault against a public servant in connection with the mass shooting, according to court records. He has been committed to the state hospital since November 2019.

He is accused of entering the school on May 18, 2018, with a sawed-off shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol and killing eight students and two teachers and injuring 13. A junior at the high school at the time, Pagourtzis admitted to being the mass shooter after his arrest, according to court documents.

Petroff in February said mental health experts were set to evaluate Pagourtzis again in 12 months unless something happened sooner that caused hospital staff to believe that his mental health status had changed.

Pagourtzis was originally evaluated independen­tly by three psychiatri­c experts in October 2019, with one each selected by the defense, prosecutio­n and retired Judge John Ellisor, the judge presiding over the case at the time. All three agreed that Pagourtzis was not fit to stand trial.

 ?? ?? Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 22, has been committed to the North Texas State Hospital since 2019.
Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 22, has been committed to the North Texas State Hospital since 2019.

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