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Second mental health evaluation ordered for teen charged in Duluth homicide

Patrick Battees, who is said to suffer from schizophrenia, will receive a second opinion from another psychologist before a judge determines whether he is competent to proceed on murder charges stemming from the death of Juamada Anderson.

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Patrick Wilson Battees Jr. 2020 handout

A judge on Thursday ordered a second mental health evaluation for the Proctor teen accused of fatally shooting a man in Duluth's Central Hillside neighborhood May 22.

The case against Patrick Wilson Battees Jr. has remained on hold since he first appeared in court days after his arrest in the killing of 22-year-old Juamada Keller Anderson Jr., and the second evaluation is likely due to the proceedings being suspended for at least another two months.

Battees, who turned 18 in June, is charged in juvenile court with intentional second-degree murder, unintentional second-degree murder and reckless discharge of a firearm within a municipality. Prosecutors want him certified to stand trial as an adult, but it first must be determined whether he is competent to proceed in court.

Psychologist Gerald Henkel-Johnson on Aug. 9 submitted his findings to the court. The report itself is not public, but Judge Theresa Neo noted that the examiner recommended Battees be civilly committed for mental health treatment.

PREVIOUSLY: Teen charged in Duluth homicide to undergo mental health evaluation Prosecutors want Patrick Battees tried as an adult in the shooting death of Juamada Anderson, but court proceedings will remain suspended while a determination is made on his competency.
Ahead of Thursday's hearing, Assistant St. Louis County Amy Lukasavitz filed a motion seeking a second opinion from another examiner, suggesting she may disagree with Henkel-Johnson's findings. Defense attorney J.D. Schmid did not object, and Neo appointed psychologist Sara Vaccarella to carry out the assessment.

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The evaluations seek to inform the court as to whether Battees, who remains at the Arrowhead Juvenile Center, is capable of understanding the proceedings and taking part in his own defense, and whether a civil commitment is needed.

According to court documents, Patrick Battees Sr. previously 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.

Battees is one of five people who have been charged in connection with the investigation, with four people having been accused of firing shots amid what police described as a "chaotic" situation.

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Markus Seville Morris. 2021 handout

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.

PREVIOUSLY: Duluth homicide victim identified; 2 other men charged in connection with shooting Investigators "have some idea" of a possible motive, the city's police chief said Tuesday, as new details emerged in Saturday's killing of a 22-year-old man.
Investigators said Ladd, 25, 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.

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Laurel Larice Ladd Jr. 2021 handout

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.

Two others allegedly admitted to firing shots at the scene of Anderson's death.

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Tyrone Deshun Childs. 2020 handout

Tyrone Deshun Childs Sr., 35, reportedly told police he was sitting in a white van across the street at the time of the homicide and fired a 9-mm handgun at "some Native dude" after Anderson was struck. Eddie Ezra Conyers Jr., 17, allegedly stated that he "wanted to see a fight" and shot off five rounds in response to the initial gunfire.

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Conyers faces an adult certification hearing next Thursday. Childs is next expected to appear in court on Sept. 1, Ladd on Sept. 3, and Morris on Nov. 12.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTSDULUTH
Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or tolsen@duluthnews.com.
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