A judge in Sacramento has formally approved plans to send indicted terror suspect Nicholas Teausant to a federal facility for mental testing, a move that promises to further delay the case.
U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez signed an order filed in court Wednesday, in which he found that “reasonable cause exists to believe Mr. Teausant may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense.”
Teausant, 21, made a brief court appearance Tuesday, during which his attorney, Assistant Federal Defender Benjamin Galloway, said there are indications Teausant is schizophrenic and that a report on a previous evaluation is expected to be completed this week.
Teausant, from the Acampo area near Lodi, was arrested in March as he allegedly was about to cross into Canada as part of a plan to enlist in the Islamic State terror group fighting in Syria and Iraq.
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The upcoming evaluation will slow the case’s pace, with the next status hearing set for Feb. 24.
Teausant, a convert to Islam, has pleaded not guilty to a count of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, a charge that could net him 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
He is being held without bail at the Sacramento County Main Jail, where he is kept in isolation 23 hours a day and allowed virtually no human contact, Galloway said.
Mendez’s order means Teausant will be transferred to one of six facilities in the nation operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. His most likely destination is the Federal Medical Center at Butner, N.C., an institution for male prisoners of all security levels who have special health needs. Its teaching and research hospital specializes in oncology and behavioral science.
It is possible, but less likely, that Teausant will wind up at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Mo.
Call The Bee’s Sam Stanton, (916) 321-1091.