A mental health evaluation of a Roanoke Rapids man charged federally for crimes allegedly committed in Northampton County will not be completed until August, documents filed in the case show.
According to a letter from E.K. Carlton, warden of the Federal Detention Center in Miami, says Michael Christopher Harris arrived in Florida for the evaluation on May 21.
However, due to FDC Miami operating under the Federal Bureau of Prisons COVID-19 modified operations plan, and a 14-day quarantine upon Harris’ arrival, the facility will be unable to complete the evaluation report until August 11.
The order for the evaluation was filed on February 28.
“If testimony will be required in this case, we request that the examiner be permitted to testify via telephone or video conference,” Carlton requested in the letter to District Judge Louise Wood Flanagan in New Bern. “Allowing our forensic psychologists to testify remotely will ensure maximum social distancing. In addition, testifying remotely maximizes the amount of the time our forensic psychologists are able to remain at FDC Miami, thereby enabling them to focus on their already-pending caseloads.”
Flanagan approved the request
The federal public defender for Harris wrote that Harris filed a motion for a determination of his mental competency to stand trial. “Counsel states that there is reasonable cause to believe the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense,” G. Alan DuBois wrote. “Counsel for the government does not object to this motion. For this reason, it is requested that the court order that a psychiatric and/or psychological evaluation of the defendant be conducted …”
Documents in the case do go into specific detail.
Because of the delay, sentencing in the Harris case has been reset for December 7 in New Bern.
Harris was indicted by a federal grand jury on two counts in November.
In count 1 the grand jury charged he possessed ammunition while previously being convicted of a crime.
In count 2 the grand jury charged he possessed a firearm and ammo around April 3 knowing he was a convicted felon.
The federal indictment warrants were issued on November 5 and stem from two separate shooting investigations that took place in Northampton County on November 21 of 2018 and April 3 of 2019.