Proctor teen ruled incompetent to stand trial in Duluth homicide case
Civil commitment proceedings will be initiated for Patrick Wilson Battees Jr., with his juvenile court case suspended until he is deemed fit to stand trial.
A Proctor teen accused of killing a man in Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood earlier this year has been found incompetent to stand trial.
Judge Jill Eichenwald on Thursday suspended juvenile court proceedings and initiated a civil commitment process for Patrick Wilson Battees Jr., who is charged with the May 22 shooting death of 22-year-old Juamada Keller Anderson Jr.
Battees, who turned 18 in June, has been examined by two psychologists since his arrest. The St. Louis County Attorney's Office objected to the initial findings from Gerald Henkel-Johnson, leading to the court's ordering of a second report from Sara Vaccarella.
Eichenwald ordered that Battees remain at Duluth's Arrowhead Juvenile Center, pending any placement in a treatment facility.
"I've seen him pretty much monthly," guardian ad litem Karen Johnson told the court. "He did seem a bit despondent last week — just kind of tired of being there, I guess."
Cases can remain suspended for months or even years before a defendant is determined to be fit to proceed in court. Treatment personnel will be required to file a progress report after six months. If the commitment continues for three years, the case would be dismissed unless the state files a notice of intent to prosecute.
While details of Battees' current health remain unknown, his father reportedly told officials that his son requires medications for schizophrenia and "can become very erratic" when he has not been taking them consistently — which he said had been the case prior to his arrest.
He is one of five people to be charged in connection with Anderson's killing or the related melee, with four defendants allegedly firing shots amid what police described as a "chaotic" situation.
Police reports filed in court indicate that Battees and Anderson were conversing on the porch of an apartment building at 118 E. Third St. just before the shooting. The incident, authorities said, escalated after two other men, Markus Seville Morris and Laurel Larice Ladd Jr., were seen pulling into a nearby parking lot and seemingly "forming a plan."
Video allegedly shows Morris, 31, walking up to Battees on the porch and demonstrating "pre-attack cues by sizing up Battees and pulling his shorts up." Anderson can then be seen getting between the two men before Morris pushes him against the railing, the reports state.
Investigators said Ladd, 26, could then be seen entering the confrontation and punching Battees. As the scuffle moved toward the sidewalk, Ladd reportedly could be seen handing an item — which investigators believe to be a gun — to Morris.
Battees is then allegedly seen taking out his own firearm and shooting, striking Anderson as the crowd begins to disperse. Video allegedly shows Morris pointing his gun and shooting at Battees before handing the weapon back to Ladd. Police said Battees fled the scene but was arrested a few blocks away after stashing his gun in a discarded couch.
Investigators subsequently indicated the incident may have been linked to a 2020 shooting that reportedly injured a relative of Ladd. Battees was not charged with the shooting itself, but did serve a nine-month jail sentence in Douglas County after leading police on a resulting high-speed chase.
One co-defendant, 35-year-old Tyrone Deshun Childs Sr., who reportedly fired a handgun from inside a van parked across the street from the crime scene, entered a guilty plea in September to counts of drive-by shooting and being a felon in possession of a firearm. His sentencing is set for Dec. 6.
Another suspect, Eddie Ezra Conyers Jr., 17, was recently certified to stand trial as an adult on several firearm-related charges. He allegedly told police that he "wanted to see a fight" and shot off five rounds. He is scheduled to be back in court Monday.
Ladd faces a Nov. 5 court date, while Morris is slated to appear Nov. 12.