Defense rejects 'insanity' exam in OHS attack case

By Patsy Brumfield

OXFORD – Joshua Brandon Pillault’s attorney said Friday a mental exam is premature to determine his client’s “insanity” at the time he is accused of plotting a Columbine-style attack on Oxford High School.
But public defender George Lucas said he joins prosecutors in asking for a competency evaluation. He asked that it be done locally to move the case along.
Pillault, about 20, of Oxford was arrested Monday on an FBI agent’s sworn statement that Pillault told fellow gamers on the Internet, using the name Paul Gilbert, that he wanted to blow up OHS and kill a lot of people.
In documents filed earlier this week, prosecutors said Pillault made threats against the school while playing the online game, “Runescape” to other players in a chatroom conversation. The threats were reported by a fellow “Runescape” player in Virginia who contacted the Oxford Police Department.
In its motion Wednesday, prosecutors said they wanted Pillault moved to a Bureau of Prisons facility for the examination.
They claim Pillault made statements to agents he “sympathizes with shooters who conducted the Columbine massacre.”
Prosecutors said they need to determine if he is capable of understanding the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him.
Lucas told the court Friday he has hired a local psychologist immediately to conduct an evaluation on Pillault while he is held at the Lafayette County Detention Center.
Local evaluation will promote judicial efficiency and protect due process, Lucas noted.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com