WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The public defender representing Semmie Williams Jr., the man charged in the killing of 14-year-old Ryan Rogers, is asking the court to appoint two experts to determine his "mental condition and competency to proceed."
The move comes after prosecutors filed a notice that they intend to seek the death penalty.
A motion filed in court claims Williams "appears unable to testify relevantly" or "meaningfully participate" in "defending a case in which the state is seeking the death penalty."
The court filing also mentions Williams' history of mental illness and its role in a previous criminal case.
The motion, along with questions about his competency, comes after Williams recently asked a judge "do they have that on camera" during a court appearance stemming from an alleged incident while being booked into the jail last December.
Deputies at the jail also claim Williams told them, "Yeah, I killed that mother (expletive) and I'll kill you too."
He later denied making the comments.
Police also told Contact 5 last December that Williams used public transportation, including Tri-Rail, before and after he was accused of killing the Dwyer High School freshman in Palm Beach Gardens last November.
"The attorneys are alleging that there are factors of concern that would perhaps prevent the accused from really understanding the nature of the proceedings," former prosecutor Lourdes Casanova said. "I think that the state is going to use what they can in this case, if it does ultimately go to a competency hearing, to make sure the defendant is found competent to proceed if they believe that's the right result."
The court filing said Williams is being housed in the mental health unit of the Palm Beach County jail. His public defender declined to comment beyond what's in the motion.