Jacob Scott trial set to begin next month following hearing to work out pre-trial disputes
A status hearing was held Wednesday for Jacob Blair Scott, who is charged with the sexual battery, exploitation and molesting of a child.
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - The man accused of faking his own death to avoid multiple charges accusing him of sexual battery against a child was back in court on Wednesday.
Wearing a yellow jumpsuit and shackles, Jacob Blair Scott made his way into the Pascagoula courtroom for a status hearing in front of Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Kathy King Jackson.
Scott is charged with more than a dozen counts involving the sexual battery, exploitation and molesting of a child. According to court documents, the girl was 14 at the time of the crimes, which resulted in a child being born.
The hearing was called by the prosecution to determine if there is enough evidence for the defendant to move forward an insanity defense.
District Attorney Angel McIlrath opened the hearing by providing a history of recent actions taken in the case, which has been ongoing for more than four years. She said the prosecution provided opinions earlier this year to show that Scott was of diminished capacity. Since that is not recognized as a defense in Mississippi, the DA filed to exclude the testimony, saying the defense had not attempted to use insanity as a defense. Three days later, McIlrath said the defense went on record raising an insanity defense and saying that Scott could not sit for a mental evaluation due to a digestive disease.
“We got the medical records and we’ve asked for this hearing today because there is nothing that would suggest the defendant can’t participate in his defense,” said McIlrath. “We want to go to trial on April 18th so we’re asking that if they’re going to raise this defense, they show cause why they are causing another delay.”
The defense argued that Scott not only could not sit for the mental evaluation at this time, they said he also has not been provided with the medication needed to treat the digestive disorder, despite paying out of his own pocket for a private evaluation after failing to get a thorough one while incarcerated.
McIlrath countered that claim by submitting evidence to the court that she said showed Scott was exaggerating his illness to prolong court proceedings, adding that lab samples were also taken that support that.
“Four years into litigation, he’s been through three lawyers and another lawyer made an appearance last night. There’s been plenty of time to hash this out. He’s entitled to raise whatever defense he wants to raise. We’re just asking that if he’s going to do this, that there be a timeline so that we can go to trial on April 18th,” said the district attorney.
After a break, court resumed and McIlrath went on to argue against an affidavit being admissable at trial due to it not being credible. That affidavit was filed the day before the status hearing and includes the testimony of the sister of Blair’s teenaged victim. The sister, who is not being identified by WLOX in order to protect the victim, claims that she heard her mother threatening Scott’s life and that he found out about it. She said that threat took place in 2017, a year before Scott allegedly took $45,000 out of the bank, then left an empty dinghy in Alabama that contained a suicide note and a gun.
Also brought up during the hearing was whether or not the prosecution could bring up Scott’s 2018 flight from prosecution. Judge Jackson questioned why it was relevant to the case, noting that many suspects flee bond and it’s not used in court. District Attorney McIlrath defended the request, detailing some of the elaborate steps Scott took to make his death look like a suicide in order to escape justice.
Most of these pre-trial arguments were resolved, with the judge ordering Scott to take a mental evaluation by April 27. A tentative trial date was set of May 31, 2022, for the 14 criminal charges he’s facing in Mississippi.
In addition to those charges, Scott is also facing three federal charges after authorities say he faked a suicide attempt in 2018 to evade the sexual battery charges, which he was set to plead guilty to within weeks.
Scott - a military veteran who once received a Purple Heart - went on the run, making national headlines with his crime spree after being named to U.S. Marshal Service’s Top 15 Most Wanted.
Eighteen months later, Scott was found in Oklahoma, where he had reportedly been going by the name “Luke” and living in a RV since he disappeared.
He was extradited back to South Mississippi to face the charges related to the sexual battery of a minor. He was later charged with three federal counts filed in the Southern District of Alabama for false communications of a distress, illegal shipment and transportation of a firearm by a person under indictment, and false information and hoaxes.
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