NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- A motion prosecutors filed in federal court requests a mental examination for the Navy veteran accused of kidnapping and killing 19-year-old Ashanti Billie.
According to new court documents, the government believes there is reasonable cause to think suspect Eric Brown may not be competent to stand trial. The law requires a defendant be able to both assist in his defense and understand the proceedings in court.
In the motion, the U.S. Attorney's Office wrote a mental evaluation is necessary because of the defendant's "documented irrational behavior and statements.”
Prosecutors said they include: “(1) multiple interactions of the defendant with agents and others persons prior to arrest, indicating deeply troubling statements and bizarre conduct, (2) information provided by the defendant to pretrial services indicating a significant concern over his mental history and status, (3) information provided by the defendant to a prison psychologist and social services personnel, and (4) documented and recorded observations of prison staff showing unusual actions of the defendant since incarcerated on federal charges.”
The feds want Brown committed to the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina for the evaluation, but according to court records, they expect defense attorneys to seek an examination done here.
Late Monday, Brown's public defenders confirmed to 13News Now they are, in fact, objecting to the motion and want an examination done locally.
Prosecutors noted they are prepared to present evidence including videos, testimony and medical reports at a hearing if needed.
Ultimately, competency to stand trial is determined by the court.
Ashanti Billie's body was found in North Carolina, 11 days after she went missing at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek.
After more than a month-long investigation, Brown, a homeless veteran who had been staying on base, was arrested and charged with Billie's kidnapping and murder.