UPDATE: Judge orders mental evaluation for Gary Simpson - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Judge orders mental evaluation for Gary Simpson

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Gary Simpson enters the Hawkins County courtroom Monday. Gary Simpson enters the Hawkins County courtroom Monday.

UPDATE: A judge ordered a mental evaluation for the man accused of kidnapping a 9-year-old Rogersville girl on Monday.

The evaluation for Gary Simpson could take up to six weeks, and his case was reset to July 13 at 1 p.m.

Simpson faces charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and custodial interference after he and his niece Carlie Trent went missing for nine days.


PREVIOUS STORY: The man accused of kidnapping a 9-year-old Rogersville girl is expected to return to court for his preliminary hearing on Monday.

Gary Simpson faces charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and custodial interference after he and his niece Carlie Trent went missing for nine days.

At Monday’s hearing, prosecutors will have to convince a judge there is probable cause Simpson is guilty.  

Legal analysts say it might be some time before we see any real movement in this case, as the defense could move to waive or delay the entire preliminary hearing altogether. It would then go straight to a grand jury.

At Simpson’s first appearance last week, he questioned the judge about his charges.

"What I don't understand is I'm being charged with something that her dad's girlfriend did occasionally," he said.

Legal analyst Don Bosch says it wasn't the time or the place for him to argue the charges, but at the preliminary hearing his attorney will have the chance to challenge the evidence against him.

"Typically in a preliminary hearing, the defendant will put on no proof. But his or her lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine the state's proof," he said.

Among the proof we've seen so far: TBI's release of Save-a-Lot footage shortly after investigators say he picked Carlie up from school. The bureau also released footage of him at Walmart moments before the alleged kidnapping.

Right now Simpson is in jail on a $1 million bond. Simpson made it clear at his arraignment he has no assets and little savings.

For that reason, the judge qualified him for a public defender. Bosch says the district's public defense office has an excellent reputation, and he's expecting a fight.

"Particularly in the large cases, they tend to be very good, very well-skilled, and well-trained,” he said.

WBIR contributed to this story. 

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