A former neo-Nazi accused of killing his roommates — who once shared his racist beliefs — after converting to Islam has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Devon Arthurs, 18, did not appear in court during Thursday’s brief court hearing in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Times reports. But an examination by Dr. Yolanda Leon found him incompetent to stand trial on two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his former roommates, Jeremy Himmelman, 22, and Andrew Oneschuk, 18, who were fatally shot with an assault rifle inside their Tampa condo in May.
But prosecutors now want a second opinion before a judge decides on Arthurs’ fate, according to the newspaper.
“It appears to me in some areas of the report that the defendant exhibited an understanding of some of the issues in question,” Assistant State Attorney Ronald Gale said.
A judge granted Gale’s request and appointed a second expert, psychologist Daniel Patz, to examine Arthurs before scheduling his next court date for Feb. 28.
Arthurs, according to a video interrogation released by the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office last week, told police he needed medical attention just hours after allegedly gunning the men down, saying “I wish I went to the hospital before this.”
Arthurs told detectives after the killings in May that he had previously questioned his own sanity before prosecutors say he killed Himmelman and Oneschuk after becoming upset about widespread anti-Muslim sentiment.
“I wish I went to the hospital before this,” Arthurs said. “I wish I had listened to my family and followed, like, what they were recommending to do.”
Arthurs, who was arrested after taking an employee and customers hostage at a nearby smoke shop, also admitted being “very prone” to getting angry frequently.
“I’m very to the point where I think I might be kind of sick in that sense,” Arthurs said. “I want to get help for that.”
Arthurs told investigators that he and his roommates — including a fourth man named Brandon Russell who was sentenced in January to five years in prison for having bomb-making materials in the condominium — all shared neo-Nazi beliefs prior to his conversion to Islam.
“Arthurs stated that for some time before the murders, he had been privy to Russell participating in online neo-Nazi internet chat rooms where he threatened to kill people and bomb infrastructure,” according to a criminal complaint.
Russell, 22, wasn’t charged in the killings and Arthurs has told police he had nothing to do with the deaths.
Other materials in the case released last week include an account of what Arthurs told officers while sitting in the back of a patrol car after his arrest.
“We have those in Mosul,” Arthurs said. “We use them for night ops and stuff like that.”
Speaking as if he was somehow affiliated with a terrorist group, one officer asked Arthurs if had been overseas.
“They closed the door to jihad for me over there,” Arthurs said. “So I figured I’d do it over here. But I wanted to do it within reason. Generally, like, speaking, the amount of bureaucracy in the United States is its biggest problem.”
Later, while in an interrogation room, Arthurs continued to appear uneasy and gave long, rambling answers.
“If could go back and do something over, I would sign myself into a hospital and work on my anger issues and my rational thinking skills,” Arthurs said.
Arthurs, while explaining how he and Russell established a neo-Nazi group called Atomwaffen Division – German for “atomic weapon” – said he would rather be at a mental hospital.
“Because my family has been telling me to go to a hospital,” he continued. “Obviously, I don’t feel like I’m capable of living day to day like any normal citizen.”
Arthurs said he discovered Islam a year prior to the killings and tried to get other Atomwaffen members to reconsider their racist beliefs.
“In hindsight, it’s very stupid what I’ve done,” he said. “This all feels very surreal, like a dream.”