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Judge orders second mental health evaluation for man accused of driving into biking family

Morse's parents confront state attorney
Posted: 4:26 PM, Sep 13, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-13 21:49:56Z

TAMPA, Fla. — A judge ordered a second opinion on whether the man accused of intentionally running over a father and killing him is fit to stand trial. 

The ruling led to an outburst from Khadeeja Morse, the defendant's mother, in the courtroom.

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"Can you appoint him to get treatment, too, please? So he can get medical attention, please? Psychiatric care, please!" she yelled.

The order of a second competency test stems from worries about the first report. Prosecutors say that Mikese Morse was uncooperative during the exam, leading to a lacking report.

The defendant waived his right to appear. Right after the hearing, outside the courtroom where no cameras are allowed, Khadeeja walked straight toward State Attorney Andrew Warren. It marked a rare confrontation and the first face-to-face encounter between the parents and the prosecutor. The topic was Morse's mental treatment in jail.

"Our son is incarcerated 11 weeks and three days and no psychiatric care and no meds, that's a shame," said Khadeeja.

"The jail provides mental health treatment, we know that the jails and prisons are not the best sources of mental health treatment in this country, which is why we need to do a lot more to address mental health before it gets into the criminal justice system," said Warren.

 The 20-minute impromptu private discussion ended with Warren telling the parents he'll talk to jail leaders about their son's treatment.

According to Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office,  Mikese Morse arrived into the Hillsborough County Jail on June 25th and has spent around 84 days in the jail. Since his arrival, mental health staff have met with Mikese 34 times. In his first 9 days in the jail, he met with licensed mental health care every day. Since then, Mikese has been seen by mental health care physicians, or a psychiatric ARNP on average every 2-3 days.

“We’re going to work with the defense, we’re going to work with the jail and we’re going to work with the court as we always do to make sure that defendants get the treatment they need, the evaluation they need, so we can move forward in a fair and just manner," said Warren in an interview after.

"Frankly the questions right now about him getting treatment and the effectiveness of the treatment, those are questions that need to be posed to officials at the Hillsborough County Jail," said attorney James Smith, who represents Mikese Morse. 

HCSO also says it did a review of all avenues where complaints can be filed and found nothing on record regarding the care of Mikese Morse.

The Detention Services Commander, Colonel Mike Perotti, has reached out to Mikese Morse’s family directly and will be updating them regularly on Mikese.

Just last month, ABC Action News brought you an exclusive look inside Falkenburg Road Jail's new Mental Health Stabilization Unit. According to Smith, Morse is in this unit. Although, he's unsure if Morse has been moved.

Jail leaders call the unit "special" and a change from the traditional ways of treating the mentally ill.