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Psychiatrists will be appointed to evaluate Patrick Michael Harris, who says he was insane when he reportedly tried to kill a woman at a campground near Petrolia.
Harris, 50, has entered pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity to the Aug. 9 attack at the BLM campground on the Mattole River. Witnesses said Harris approached a woman, asked if she was ready to die and started choking her with a piece of rebar.
Another camper stopped the assault by shooting Harris in the knee. Witnesses restrained Harris until sheriff’s deputies arrived.
The woman suffered facial injuries but didn’t want medical treatment.
At a hearing this morning Judge Joyce Hinrichs said she will need to consider the qualifications and fees of the psychiatrists suggested by Deputy District Attorney Brie Bennett and defense attorney Marek Reavis.
Because Harris has entered entered two pleas, a jury would first decide whether he is guilty of the crime. If he is convicted, a separate proceeding would be held to determine if he was sane at the time.
At issue is whether Harris was able to distinguish between right and wrong when he allegedly tried to kill the woman.
This morning Harris, who remains in Humboldt County Correctional Facility, appeared calm. He walks with a slight limp, possibly from the gunshot to the knee.
The next hearing is set for Feb. 23.