Judge orders mental evaluation, declares mistrial in case agains - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

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Judge orders mental evaluation, declares mistrial in case against former school bus driver

Sandoval’s attorney said he suffered a stress related episode. (Photo source: WLOX) Sandoval’s attorney said he suffered a stress related episode. (Photo source: WLOX)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

A mistrial was declared in the case against Sergio Sandoval on Thursday afternoon. 

Judge Kathy King Jackson noted that Sandoval, who is accused of inappropriately touching an 8-year-old girl who rode the bus he used to drive for the Ocean Springs School District, needs to be evaluated to ensure that he is competent to stand trial.

A mental evaluation was ordered, and Sandoval was taken back into custody.

Sandoval was taken to the hospital after he passed out Wednesday, but he was quickly released. His attorney requested a mistrial, claiming he appeared to be incompetent to stand trial. The judge denied that request.

During a short recess, Sandoval returned to the hospital and reportedly refused to leave. His family claimed the hospital refused to admit him. Doctors said he didn’t meet the criteria for admission.

Sandoval's family upset hospital won't admit him; Judge refuses request for mistrial

The doctor that treated Sandoval said during the competency hearing he was experiencing something similar to a panic attack. The doctor added it is likely Sandoval was exaggerating his symptoms and acting out.

Sandoval’s attorney questioned the doctor’s authority to diagnose psychiatric problems. The defense argued Sandoval cannot remember what has gone on during the trial and can’t make rational decisions.

The doctor who performed a psychiatric evaluation on Sandoval told the court he can't be sure if if Sandoval is intentionally acting out. The doctor testified Sandoval seemed fragile during Wednesday's evaluation.

The doctor said Sandoval struggled paying attention and his speech was slow. He described Sandoval's presentation as unusual and startling, saying the symptoms almost mimicked dementia.

The doctor said stress can manifest itself in medical issues. He said if Sandoval's issued are stress related, they should go away.

Sandoval’s wife, Patricia, also took the stand during the hearing. She said her husband has been quiet and reserved since the trial started. She described Sandoval as introverted and said he asked where they were going on the way to the courthouse.

Assistant District Attorney Angel Myers insisted Sandoval is faking his symptoms. He said Sandoval is holding the court hostage, and has the ability to participate in the trial but he is refusing to do so.

WLOX News Now reporter Janel Forte has been in the courtroom since the trial started. She will continue to report the latest developments on WLOX News Now and WLOX.com.

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