Judge to Decide If White House Shooter Is Mentally Competent

Hearing will determine whether Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama, will stand trial.

Posted: 12/15/2011 06:51 PM EST

A federal judge on Friday will evaluate the mental health of Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez, the man accused of attempting to assassinate President Barack Obama by firing shots at the White House in November.

 

Ortega-Hernandez made a separate court appearance in Washington on Wednesday, after which a judge set another hearing for Friday to hear more evidence. A preliminary psychiatric screening found him competent to stand trial, but federal prosecutors are asking for more extensive tests.

 

An Ohio native, Ortega-Hernandez was reported as missing by his family in October. According to court documents and accounts from acquaintances, Ortega-Hernandez said he believed he was Jesus and referred to President Obama as "the devil."

 

Authorities apprehended Ortega-Hernandez at a hotel in Western Pennsylvania on Nov. 16 after they found a gun in the man’s car. Police believe he used an assault rifle to fire shots into a window of the White House on the night of Nov. 11. The president and First Lady Michelle Obama were in California when the gunshots were fired.

 

Ortega-Hernandez has been charged with attempting to assassinate President Obama or a member of his staff. If convicted, he potentially faces a life sentence in prison, the Associated Press reports.

 

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