Gary Eugene Holmes, accused of killing a toddler last year, is being committed to the Arkansas State Hospital for observation by doctors who are trying to assess his mental health.
Doctors who were assigned to determine whether the 33-year-old is fit to stand trial asked that he be interned at the hospital indefinitely because getting him to cooperate with testing efforts has been like “pulling teeth,” according to a letter to Pulaski County Circuit Judge Barry Sims.
The judge ordered Holmes transferred from jail to the State Hospital at a brief hearing Monday.
Holmes faces charges of first-degree murder and committing a terroristic act in the death of 3-year-old Acen Ameer King on Dec. 17 in what police have described as a result of road rage.
The evaluation process includes interviews to determine whether Holmes has a sufficient understanding of the criminal justice system to help his lawyer prepare his defense.
Doctors must also decide whether Holmes has any mental condition that could have compelled him to kill Acen or could have prevented Holmes from understanding the difference between right and wrong when the boy was killed.
The charges carry a potential life sentence. Court proceedings cannot move forward until the judge is satisfied that Holmes is sane.
Holmes’ next court appearance is scheduled for July for a report to the judge on the progress of the evaluation, although the defendant could be back in court sooner if doctors can agree on a diagnosis before then.
Michael Simon, the State Hospital’s supervising psychologist for forensic services, reported in the letter to the judge that Holmes appeared very depressed when they met and sat with his head down, rarely making eye contact.
Holmes did not appear to be mentally ill or developmentally disabled, Simon wrote, stating that Holmes’ responses appeared to