Accused Santa Fe shooter trial delayed for up to 1 more year, Galveston County DA’s office says

HOUSTON – Accused Santa Fe school shooting gunman, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, is still not competent to stand trial, KPRC 2′s Robert Arnold reports, citing the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office.

Officials with the Galveston County District Attorney’s Office said doctors at North Texas State Hospital informed the court they had not yet been able to restore Pagourtzis competency. The judge then ordered Pagourtzis to remain hospitalized for up to another 12-month. After that 12-month period, Pagourtzis mental state will be re-evaluated. Pagourtzis was first ruled incompetent to stand trial in 2019, 18-months after he was charged with murdering 8-classmates, 2-educators and wounding several others, including a Santa Fe ISD police officer, during his rampage at Santa Fe High school.

At the time, his defense attorneys argued Pagourtzis mental health deteriorated while in jail and he was no longer able to aid in his own defense. He was committed to a state hospital after he was determined to be incompetent by defense experts, prosecution experts and an independent expert brought in by the judge. This is the third time the court has extended Pagourtzis commitment to a mental health hospital.

“The North Texas State Hospital has reported that the defendant has not yet been restored to competency to stand trial, and they have requested that he be recommitted to their facility for up to 12 months so that they can continue their efforts to restore him to competency. This was obviously not the news we wanted to hear, and we share the families’ frustration in the continued delay. We will continue to monitor the defendant’s status and treatment. We remain committed to seeing this case tried and seeing that justice done,” Galveston County District Attorney Jack Roady wrote in a statement to KPRC 2.

Pagourtzis attorney, Nick Poehl, shared this statement with KPRC 2 following the announcement Friday: “While we aren’t surprised by this development, we are disappointed that we remain in a place where the case cannot move forward towards resolution. It’s disappointing for all parties involved, but especially for the victims and their families, who are still waiting for closure on this case, and even for basic information about it. We remain hopeful that the case will be resolved at some point in the future, whether that involves trial, or a civil commitment proceeding which feels increasingly inevitable.”

Pagourtzis was also charged in federal court over the shootings, but the details of the government’s case are sealed. While he is considered an adult under Texas law, since he was 17 at the time of the shootings, he is considered a juvenile in federal court, therefore his records remain sealed in that venue.

Also, his age at the time of the murders prevents Pagourtzis from being given the death penalty or a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Stay with KPRC 2 for the latest details as they become available. Be sure to follow KPRC2 Robert Arnold on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all of his updates.

Galveston County DA's office confirms Dimitrios Pagourtzis is still not competent to stand trial. Will remain in state hospital for up to another year. More details to folo.

Posted by KPRC2 Robert Arnold on Friday, February 11, 2022

Arnold reported in January that the wait for family members has dragged on for nearly four years.

RELATED: Nearly 4 years later, families still waiting for accused Santa Fe gunman Dimitrios Pagortzis to face trial

About the Authors:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.

Award winning investigative journalist who joined KPRC 2 in July 2000. Husband and father of the Master of Disaster and Chaos Gremlin. “I don’t drink coffee to wake up, I wake up to drink coffee.”