Judge Rules Texas School Shooting Suspect to Remain in State Hospital

Dimitrios Pagourtzis
Photo of Dimitrios Pagourtzis. | Image by ABC13 Houston

On Friday, February 11, a judge ordered that the man allegedly responsible for a fatal Texas high school shooting in 2018 is to remain confined to a mental hospital. Doctors say he is incompetent to stand trial.

AP News reported that Dimitrios Pagourtzis, now 21, was admitted into the North Texas State Hospital in Vernon, Texas, in December 2019.

Three mental health experts determined that the then-18-year-old was incompetent to stand trial. The defense picked one expert, the court appointed another, and prosecutors chose the third.

Pagourtzis’ initial confinement at the mental health facility was for a period of 4 – 6 months. However, he has remained there ever since, as doctors say he is still not competent to stand trial.

Per The Dallas Morning News, Judge John Ellisor — for the third time — extended Pagourtzis’ stay at the facility by 12 months.

As reported by The Dallas Morning News, Nicholas Poehl, Pagourtzis’ attorney, said that the judge’s decision did not come as a surprise to him. He also explained that his client was deemed incompetent based on his current state of mind and not his state of mind at the time of the shooting.

ABC News reported that Pagourtzis’ attorneys said his mental state had deteriorated so much that he did not understand the case against him.

“We remain hopeful that the case will be resolved at some point in the future, whether that involves trial, or a civil commitment which feels increasingly inevitable,” said Poehl.

According to a 2018 report by AP News, Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student of Santa Fe High School at the time, allegedly opened fire at Santa Fe High School. Ten people died that day, authorities say. Pagourtzis also reportedly hid explosive devices in and around the school.

According to AP News, Gov. Greg Abbott said that Pagourtzis intended to kill himself at the time, but he gave up and told police that he did not have the courage.

Pagourtzis has been charged with capital murder for the attack at the high school. Due to his age at the time of the shooting, he is not eligible for the death penalty.

Per The DMN, Pagourtzis also faces other federal charges; however, the cases have been sealed due to his status as a minor at the time of the offense.

Regarding the continued delay of the suspect’s trial, Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady assured the victims’ families in a written statement that his office is “committed to seeing this case tried and seeing that justice is done.”

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1 Comment

  1. Concerned Citizen

    Never understand how a teenager can obtain access to a fire arm to become a domestic terrorist.


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