Competency debate continues for man accused of killing MPD officer

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The man accused of killing Memphis police officer Verdell Smith was back in court Monday morning.

Justin Welch faces more than a dozen criminal charges for the 2016 downtown crime spree that killed Smith and another victim, Josh Walton.

Welch appeared to stare into space while in court. At one point, he jumped up in proceedings when a judge told a witness he could step down.

An examination of Welch in Nashville earlier this summer revealed that mental health experts didn't believe he was competent to stand trial, diagnosing him as bipolar and psychotic.

Psychologist Rena Isen testified that Welch seemed to understand the legal process, but not the seriousness of the charges against him.

"He also told us his case wouldn't make it to trial because God told him it wouldn't make it to trial and he wouldn't have to worry about it," Isen said.

A separate examination in October led mental health experts to declare Welch was competent, given he take his medication.

Psychologists from that state facility in Nashville testified Monday that Welch faked seizures in their care, assaulted three patients, and had to be held down to administer prescriptions.

It was also revealed Welch is refusing to take his meds while in custody at 201 Poplar, telling a psychiatrist at the jail that he didn't need the medicine and it wasn't important to him.

Testimony in the hearing will resume Tuesday morning at 9, when jail phone calls from Welch are expected to be played.

It's unclear if Judge Mark Ward will make a ruling on Welch's competency Tuesday, or if he will wait.

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