Judge rules insanity tests on UT stabbing suspect won’t happen yet

Will Clark

Kendrex White, the suspect in the May 1 UT stabbing attack, appeared in court today where a judge ruled that White will not undergo insanity tests yet.

The decision came as Judge Tamara Needles denied motions from the prosecution requesting a state-ordered examination of White’s sanity. She said such a test would not be timely or appropriate right now, calling it “jumping the gun.”

The battle for how and when White will be tested for sanity will likely be a critical aspect of the case and could mean the difference between prison and a mental health facility for White if he is convicted.

The motions Needles denied today would have allowed the prosecution to choose the examiner who would assess White’s sanity and to have greater control over when he could be assessed.

The examiner will now likely be chosen by the defense or the court. It’s currently unclear when that test could occur.

White is charged with murder in connection with the death of Harrison Brown, but says he doesn’t remember the attack, according to his arrest affidavit. His parents have also said they were concerned about his mental health in the weeks leading up to the attack after a car crash on campus in April.

To be deemed legally insane, an examiner must find that White did not know his conduct was wrong at the time of the incident.

Gerry Morris, an Austin criminal defense attorney who has been practicing law for 40 years, said the best time to gauge White’s mental health would be sooner rather than later to ensure his mental state is as close to what it was at the time of the incident.

Morris also said, however, that the defense could be waiting to make sure they want to take the path of an insanity defense before they expose their client to more mental health tests.

Needles has discouraged attorneys from talking to the press and granted a motion today that banned cameras inside the courtroom for the rest of the case.

White is expected to appear in court again on July 21.