Santa Fe High shooter ordered for mental evaluation despite prior incompetence ruling

(Trench’s Note: As I was in the middle of writing this, tragically, another school shooting took place in Texas. I’ll, more than likely, address that shooting in my next post.)

In May 2018, a school shooting occurred at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, which was carried out by Dimitrios Pagourtzis, then 17 years old. He used a shotgun and .38 pistol belonging to his father to fatally shoot eight students and two teachers, while also injuring 13 others. Pagourtzis had a known obsession with the Columbine High School massacre, evidenced by his frequent wearing of a black trench coat in the Texas heat and a “Born to Kill” t-shirt.

In November 2019, Pagourtzis was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial, and was ordered to spend a year in a state-run psychiatric facility. Since that time, Pagourtzis has been ruled mentally incompetent every year, with his most recent committal having been ordered last month.

On March, 10th, Texas Judge Jeth Jones ordered Pagourtzis to undergo another psychiatric evaluation within 30 days of his ruling. The judge ordered that he wanted a ‘disinterested expert’ to evaluate Pagourtzis. When Pagourtzis was originally ruled incompetent, he was evaluated by three professionals. One was for the defense, another for the prosecution, and an independent expert. All three concluded that Pagourtzis was incapable of assisting in his own defense.

It’s unclear why Judge Jones ordered another evaluation so soon, since Jones was the judge who ordered Pagourtzis back to the psych hospital in February.

The defense thinks they may have an idea why. They have requested Judge Jones be recused from overseeing the case, claiming bias. The defense has accused Judge Jones of trying to “arrive at the specific result of the Defendant being found competent.”

As much as I hate to admit it, they might be right. While I have no qualms about Pagourtzis being sentenced to life without parole, that should only be done if he’s found competent to stand trial. If he were to be forced through an examination and miraculously declared competent while still being mentally incapable, Pagourtzis would almost certainly get a retrial on appeal.

While I know this must be extremely difficult for the victims’ families, I think it’s best that Pagourtzis be legitimately found competent before going to trial. By not doing so, it gives him a potential avenue to escape the justice he deserves.

Speaking of justice, the families of the victims received a modicum of justice after reaching a settlement with online ammunition retailer LuckyGunner. If you’ll recall, LuckyGunner sold ammunition to a 17-year-old Pagourtzis. At the time, LuckyGunner’s age verification system was nothing more than a box on their website asking if the user was at least 21. You know, because no one on the internet has ever lied on one of those forms before.

Part of the settlement requires LuckyGunner to perform actual age verifications before a customer can purchase ammo online. The fact that I just typed ‘purchase ammo online’ should be disturbing enough before worrying about age verification, but I digress.

LuckyGunner released a statement after the settlement was reached. To say they sounded defiant in the statement is selling it short.

The company’s CEO, Jack Felde, released a statement on the settlement. It says: “We didn’t agree to do anything we weren’t already doing. We’ll continue investing in a world-class experience for American gun owners. We want ammo sales to be secure, convenient, and cost-effective for every law-abiding American.”

I mean, why should they stop sending bullets through the mail, even though it was their bullets used in a school shooting that killed ten? They have a God-given duty to provide all the freedom projectiles they can to the ‘responsible gun owners™’. Isn’t that more important than a few hundred dead school children?


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