The Idaho man charged with the attempted assassination of President Obama after shooting at the White House is competent enough to stand trial, according to a preliminary mental evaluation submitted Monday in federal court in the District.
But prosecutors want a full psychiatric screening because of the seriousness of the crime and to help bolster their case against defendant Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez.
The prosecution's motion, by Assistant U.S. Attorney George P. Varghese, acknowledged the competency ruling and states "the government does not dispute that conclusion" but contends "it was based only on a 50-minute screening."
The hearing marked the second appearance in a D.C. courtroom for Mr. Ortega-Hernandez, 21, who sat quietly, his hands clasped, wearing a dark jumpsuit issued by the Northern Neck (Va.) Regional Jail.
Mr. Ortega-Hernandez's attorneys asked to be given until Friday to respond to the motion.
The Idaho Falls, Idaho, resident was arrested Nov. 16 in western Pennsylvania after authorities were called to a hotel by an employee who recognized him in wanted pictures.
According to the arrest warrant, Mr. Ortega-Hernandez on the night of Nov. 11 stopped his dark-colored 1998 Honda Accord along Constitution Avenue Northwest, behind the White House, and fired up to eight shots from a Romanian-made semi-automatic rifle, hitting a window and at least one other part of the first family's residence.
He then abandoned the car several blocks away and fled on foot. Police found clothing and vehicle registration information linking Mr. Ortega-Hernandez to the car along with the gun and ammunition, the warrant also stated.
An acquaintance of Mr. Ortega-Hernandez said the young man [-] who was on probation at the time of his arrest for obstructing justice and possession of drug paraphernalia [-] expressed that he "wanted to 'hurt' President Obama."
If found guilty, Mr. Ortega-Hernandez could face life in prison.
U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Alan Kay set Dec. 12 for the next hearing, with Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola presiding.
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