Crime - Sacto 911

Terror case delayed by mental exam for suspect

Terror suspect Nicholas Teausant, 20, speaks to a Sacramento Bee reporter at the Sacramento County jail last August.
Terror suspect Nicholas Teausant, 20, speaks to a Sacramento Bee reporter at the Sacramento County jail last August. Sacramento Bee file

The case against suspected Islamic State follower Nicholas Teausant has been pushed back again as the 21-year-old Lodi-area man awaits more psychiatric testing.

Teausant, an Acampo resident, was arrested in March as he allegedly tried to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group Islamic State. He had been scheduled to face a status conference on Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento.

But that hearing has been pushed back to May 12 because Teausant is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles, where he awaits psychiatric evaluation and treatment that was ordered by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez on Dec. 3.

A court order filed Thursday indicates that a Board of Prisons psychologist has been assigned to perform the evaluation but has not yet begun the work.

“It is anticipated that the evaluation will last several weeks, and Mr. Teausant will remain at MDC at least until the evaluation has been completed,” according to a stipulation filed by defense attorneys and prosecutors.

Teausant’s mental state has been at issue since his arrest on March 16, when he was taken off a bus approaching the Canadian border near Blaine, Wash., and arrested as he allegedly tried to make his way to join terror forces in Syria.

He faces a charge of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and prosecutors say in court filings that he was trying to to join the terror group that has become the focal point of worldwide revulsion for its video executions of hostages.

He was arrested after an FBI operation that included the use of a confidential informant and allegations that Teausant discussed plans to bomb the Los Angeles subway system and his infant daughter’s day care center because he believed it was “Zionist.”

Teausant, a convert to Islam and former member of the California National Guard, has said in jailhouse interviews with The Sacramento Bee that he was not a threat to the United States and would not have taken any action inside the country.

He also has said that his idea of joining the Islamic State came before it evolved into the violent organization that has become known for beheadings and the slaying of a Jordanian pilot who was burned alive inside a cage.

The group has now become the target of military forces in the Middle East, as well as the center of debate in Washington, where President Barack Obama last week asked Congress for formal authorization to fight the group’s forces.

Teausant, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he arrived at the Sacramento County jail in April, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Call The Bee’s Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.

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