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Court orders mental health review in appeal

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm •  Published: December 28, 2012

ABERDEEN, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a mental evaluation for a Mississippi death row inmate.

U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock issued the order Friday as requested by the Mississippi attorney general's office.

Prosecutors had sought the mental examination for Mack Arthur King after a doctor who done a previous evaluation declined to further participate in the case. Prosecutors said even though they had subpoenaed the previous doctor, they wanted a new evaluation to combat King's ongoing claims that he suffers from mental issues and shouldn't be executed.

King, now 53, was sentenced to die by a Lowndes County jury in the death of 84-year-old Lela Patterson in 1980. Patterson was beaten, strangled and drowned at her home during a burglary.

King had his conviction and sentence overturned on two previous appeals. He was tried and convicted for a third time in 2003 and sentenced to death.

King had already been evaluated by a doctor as part of his defense. Aycock ordered that the results of that examination be provided the prosecution's new doctor.

Aycock said the findings of the new examination were to be filed with the court by Jan. 18 and shared with King's attorneys.

The judge said a Jan. 10 hearing that had been scheduled on King's mental health claim would be rescheduled when the mental exam was completed.