Monday, November 19, 2018
News Roundup

Doctor deems mentally ill man unfit for trial in death of New Tampa father, defendant’s mother says

TAMPA ó A doctor has determined that the man accused of running down and killing a New Tampa father is unfit to stand trial, according to the defendantís mother.

A psychiatrist completed an examination this week of Mikese Morse and declared that he is too mentally ill to participate in court proceedings, Khadeeja Morse said.

"This comes as absolutely no surprise to us since Mikeseís severe mental illness is the most obvious thing about this case," she said.

Morseís next court hearing is set for Thursday morning. It will be up to a judge to officially deem him incompetent.

Prosecutors have the option of requesting a second expert evaluation. Morseís defense attorney, James Smith, said Wednesday he hopes they will agree to a finding of incompetency.

"I think the state at this point has recognized the severity of his mental issues," Smith said.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: ĎThe universe can endí said driver in video now charged with mowing down bike family

If a judge decides he is incompetent to proceed, Morse will likely be sent to a state hospital to undergo treatment until doctors determine that he is mentally capable of understanding his legal situation and assisting in his own defense. After that, he would return to court and the prosecution would continue.

Morse, 30, is charged with first-degree murder in the June 24 death of Pedro Aguerreberry. The father was riding bicycles with his two sons, ages 3 and 8, on a New Tampa Boulevard bike path when Morse drove past in a Dodge Avenger, according to police. He made a U-turn, tore across a swath of grass, and plowed into the trio.

Aguerreberry died and his sons were injured. Morse kept driving and later abandoned his car, police said. He was arrested hours later at his parentsí home.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Parents Ďspent over 10 yearsí seeking help for man accused of running down Tampa father, sons

Shortly before the fatal crash, Morse posted videos to his Instagram page, in which he rambled incoherently about "the devil" having power over him, and "energies changing" inside him. Days earlier, he had been committed to a mental health facility under the stateís Baker Act, but was released within a week, his parents said.

Michael and Khadeeja Morse spoke publicly in the days after their sonís arrest about his decade-long struggle with mental illness, their efforts to get him help, and what they called a failure of the stateís mental health system.

RELATED:Mentally ill man accused of killing New Tampa bicyclist blurts out puzzling confession

While Mikese Morse has been in jail, his parents have sought to have him declared incapacitated and to be appointed as his legal guardians. The process involved three psychological evaluations unrelated to his criminal case.

Paperwork in the incapacity proceedings states that Morse suffers from schizophrenia, a severe mental illness marked by delusions, disorganized thinking and hallucinations.

A judge granted the parents full guardianship Tuesday, which means they are allowed to make legal decisions on their sonís behalf.

Contact Dan Sullivan at [email protected] or (813) 226-3386. Follow @TimesDan.

Comments
Hernando Business Happenings

Hernando Business Happenings

News and notes on local businesses
Published: 11/19/18
Bucs-Giants: Grading Tampa Bayís 38-35 loss

Bucs-Giants: Grading Tampa Bayís 38-35 loss

Jameis Winston rallied the Bucs after Fitzpatrick was benched in the third quarter.
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs-Giants: Jason Pierre-Paulís Meadowlands return lives up to the hype

Bucs-Giants: Jason Pierre-Paulís Meadowlands return lives up to the hype

The Bucs defensive end was received well, even cheered by Giants fans at times, while he logged 1-1/2 sacks of Eli Manning and seven tackles.
Updated: 7 hours ago
Bucs-Giants: Tight end O.J. Howard does not return after injuring ankle

Bucs-Giants: Tight end O.J. Howard does not return after injuring ankle

O.J. Howard, who was second on the Bucs with 78 receiving yards on six receptions, was injured on the Bucs' final touchdown drive of the day.
Updated: 7 hours ago
Man killed in shooting at Cedar Hollow Apartments on Friday

Man killed in shooting at Cedar Hollow Apartments on Friday

A man was killed at the Cedar Hollow Apartments in Pinellas Park late Friday.
Updated: 7 hours ago
Giantsí Odell Beckham, Jr., does his best Warren Sapp dance after scoring against Bucs

Giantsí Odell Beckham, Jr., does his best Warren Sapp dance after scoring against Bucs

After catching an eight-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning late in the third quarter, Odell Beckham, Jr., had a special Bucs-themed celebration planned.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning journal: 20 games in, who is this team?

Lightning journal: 20 games in, who is this team?

The Lightning has consistently been at the top of the league, but that doesn't mean there aren't questions.
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs-Giants: Running back Peyton Barber has career day in Tampa Bayís loss

Bucs-Giants: Running back Peyton Barber has career day in Tampa Bayís loss

Peyton Barber ran for a career-high 106 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, the second career 100-yard game for the third-year back.
Updated: 9 hours ago
Giants QB Eli Manning is the latest to have a career day against the Buccaneers defense

Giants QB Eli Manning is the latest to have a career day against the Buccaneers defense

A by-the-numbers look at the Bucs' 38-35 loss to the Giants on Sunday.
Updated: 10 hours ago
With top player injured, No. 21 USF women roll past Oklahoma

With top player injured, No. 21 USF women roll past Oklahoma

Senior wing Laura Ferreira sinks eight 3-pointers en route to a career-high 34 points
Updated: 11 hours ago