Mental evaluation of suspect denied

Quentin Patrick

COLUMBIA — A judge on Wednesday ruled that a convicted drug dealer who police said shot and killed a 12-year-old trick-or-treater won't receive a mental evaluation before he goes to trial on federal weapons charges.

Quentin Lamar Patrick, who has three prior convictions for crack cocaine distribution, emptied an AK-47 into his front door, walls and windows when he heard someone knock on his door Oct. 31, police have said. Patrick told police he thought he was being robbed when he saw people wearing masks standing on his stoop.

The boy was trick-or-treating and knocked on Patrick's door because the porch light was on at the Sumter home, police said.

T.J. Darrisaw died in a rain of at least 29 bullets. His 9-year-old brother, Ahmadre Darrisaw, and their father, Freddie Grinnell, were injured but survived, and another sibling with them was not hurt.

Patrick, 23, told police he had been robbed and shot in the past year and that he thought he was being robbed again.

In addition to a federal charge of being a felon in possession of a weapon, he also faces state charges of murder, three counts of assault and battery with intent to kill and one count of assault with intent to kill. Patrick has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The Halloween shooting, coupled with his own shooting in June 2007, has caused mental anguish so severe that Patrick can't remember some details associated with his case or help his defense team, his attorney said Wednesday.

Patrick "has suffered from nightmares about the incident," defense attorney John Hare said during a hearing in federal court in Columbia. "His emotional state makes it difficult for him to focus."

U.S. District Judge Matthew Perry denied Hare's motion for an evaluation, as well as a request to prevent federal prosecutors from mentioning the shooting death during Patrick's federal trial on the weapons charge.

Patrick, who has been denied bond, was seated with his attorney in court Wednesday, with his ankles were chained together.

Perry also rescheduled Patrick's trial for this fall. Jury selection had been scheduled to begin next week.