Judge orders accused courthouse shooter to undergo psych testing

Marilyn Tennissen May 1, 2012, 6:20am


The man accused of fatally shooting a woman and wounding three others at the Jefferson County Courthouse in March will undergo psychiatric testing, a judge has ordered.

Bartholomew Granger came before Jefferson County District Judge Bob Wortham in handcuffs and dressed in a red jail jumpsuit for a hearing on April 30.

Granger, 41, is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on $4 million bond after authorities say he left courthouse on March 14 and retrieved a gun from his truck in the parking lot. Granger was on trial in Criminal District Court Judge John Stevens' courtroom for aggravated sexual assault of a child.

During a court recess, Granger shot his daughter, Samantha Jackson, and her mother, Claudia Jackson, who were witnesses in his sexual assault trial, as they left the courthouse. Granger also ran over Samantha Jackson as he fled the scene.

Two bystanders were shot as well, and one of them, 78-year-old Minnie Sebolt, died just outside the courthouse doors.

Police say Granger, in a gun battle with officers, abandoned his truck and briefly took four employees hostage at a nearby business. He was apprehended there after employees got the gun away from him.

Charges against Granger include one count of murder, three counts of attempted capital murder, four counts of aggravated kidnapping and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

His case, originally in Stevens' court, has been transferred to District Court Judge Bob Wortham because Stevens' may be asked to testify. The trial that was in progress the day of the shooting was declared a mistrial.

On Friday, Wortham read each of the charges against him as Granger answered "not guilty." The suspect sat without emotion, and looked down at the floor as each charge was read. At times he paused for several seconds before answering, and appeared disoriented at times.

Before the hearing, Granger asked his attorney Sonny Cribbs about the condition of his daughter Samantha. The lawyer said the young woman is still in the hospital in critical condition, but was improving.

Court records show that Granger has been involved in a legal battle over the sexual assault allegations since 2003. Last year he and one of his brothers filed a lawsuit against law enforcement agencies in Houston and Beaumont, claiming they had harassed the brothers and mishandled the investigations.

Granger has repeatedly denied the sex abuse charges and family members said he had become increasingly frustrated by the proceedings.

On Friday, Judge Wortham granted Cribbs' request that his client undergo a psychological evaluation by Dr. Edward Gripon.

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