Thursday, U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock set the hearing after recently ordering the examination requested by the state attorney general’s office.
Prosecutors seek the mental examination for King after a doctor, who conducted an earlier evaluation, declined to participate any more 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.
In legal circles, it’s called the Atkins defense.
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.
His conviction and sentence were overturned on two previous appeals. He was tried and convicted for a third time in 2003 and sentenced to death.
King already was evaluated by a doctor as part of his defense. Aycock ordered that the results of that examination 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.
Thursday, she also ordered King’s appearance at the hearing from his custody at the state penitentiary.