Dimitrios Pagourtzis trial, news felt like being victimized all over again.
Survivors of the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School say they learned through media reports Monday that suspected shooter Dimitrios Pagourtzis is expected to be found not fit to stand trial.
Flo Rice, a substitute teacher who was shot in the May 18, 2018 shooting, said the news felt like being victimized all over again.
“He victimized us after we’re already going through hell,” Rice said during a Monday evening press conference of Pagourtzis’ attorney, Nick Poehl. “Once you are involved in this, you realize justice is not what you see in TV, it’s not what you hear, it’s not moving, it’s not in favor of the victims.”
Pagourtzis’ mental state has been the focus of several discussions between prosecutors and defense attorneys since the shooting that killed 10 and injured 13 others.
In August, attorneys for Pagourtzis said his mental state had deteriorated to the point that he doesn’t understand the case before him.
The trial, which was moved to Fort Bend County, was supposed to happen at the beginning of 2020.
“It’s hard for us to try to make sense of this, it really is right now,” said Shirley Beazly, mother of Trenton Beazley, who was injured in shooting.
“We want to see him sentenced, we want to see him put away,” said Sonia Lopez, mother of Sarah Salazar, who spent three weeks in the hospital after she was shot while hiding in a closet.
The Galveston County District Attorney met with the victims and their families Monday to give them a better understanding of what it means to have a defendant declared incompetent. Many scenarios were explained.
Pagourtzis could possibly go to a mental hospital for several months to restore his mental health.
“There is a waiting list just to get to the mental hospital, probably 8 months,” said Scott Rice, Flo’s husband. “If he comes back once he’s found competent, how long will he wait again in the whole situation, then we have to have a whole competency trial again so this could be a revolving door to stay out of system, a rubber band just coming and going.”
At this rate, they are losing hope for any sense of closure and they feel what they need to do now is change current laws so that other people affected are not placed in their current situation.
“The killer has all of the rights right now,” said Steve Perkins, whose wife, teacher Glenda Ann Perkins, was killed in the shooting. “We don’t have anything.”