Insanity defense raised for Santa Fe High School shooting suspect

By Robert Arnold - Investigative Reporter
Galveston County Sheriff's Office

Dimitrios Pagourtzis faces charges of capital murder of multiple persons and aggravated assault against a public servant following a mass shooting at Santa Fe High School this year.

GALVESTON, Texas - While not unexpected, court documents filed June 6 spell out for the first time that Dimitrios Pagourtzis may seek an insanity defense against capital murder charges in connection with last year's massacre at Santa Fe High School.

Pagourtzis is accused of killing eight classmates and two educators during the May 18, 2018, rampage.

The notice came in an order filed by Judge John Ellisor. The order allows prosecutors to have Pagourtzis evaluated by their own experts. 

“As the defendant has indicated that he intends to raise the insanity defense in this capital murder trial, and as law mandates that the state do more than just rely on cross examination of the defense experts on the issue of insanity, the state is therefore entitled to have its own experts interview, test, and examine the defendant,” the order reads.

Defense attorneys have said their client has been undergoing a battery of tests to determine his mental competency. However, defense attorney Nicholas Poehl told KPRC2 that while the judge’s order reads as such, they have not formally notified the court they intend to seek this defense during trial.

At 2 p.m. Friday, Judge Ellisor is expected to announce where the trial will be held. Earlier this year, the judge granted the defense’s motion for a change of venue. 

This story is developing.

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