Katie Urbaszewski / houmatoday.com
'He had begun talking about his wall. He had a special wall that talked to him and told him what to do,' according to a document written by a social worker in 1994. Jeremiah Wright also asked what would happen 'if he got the gun and shot someone in the house.'That document also mentions that Wright, now 31, told others he was just joking when he said those things.Friday marked the fourth day of the hearing to determine Wright's mental competence to stand trial on charges of the first-degree murder of his son, 7-year-old Jori Lirette, in the summer of 2011.The hearing, originally scheduled for three days, will continue in Judge John LeBlanc's courtroom Saturday.Lawyers did not specify Friday why the social worker was writing that report in the first place. Witnesses have mentioned earlier in the hearing that they learned Wright was briefly in foster care as a child.Meningitis, which inflames the coverings of the brain and spinal chord, could be the reason Wright speaks in a monotone and appears slow, a psychologist previously testified.However, much of Friday's testimony was from a psychologist called by the prosecution who was confident Wright is fit to stand trial.Psychologist Manfred Greiffenstein said he believes Wright is mentally prepared for a trial. During a session with him, Wright 'resisted' certain interview questions and would 'quickly inform me he would discuss that question and its issue with his attorney.'This demonstrated Wright was not only capable of assisting in his defense but also understood the seriousness of the matter, Greiffenstein said.'He obviously understands the seriousness of the charges,' Greiffenstein said. 'Why else would you defer to your attorney?'Greiffenstein examined Wright for over four hours two months ago at the Lafourche Parish jail after doctors at a state mental hospital announced they had restored Wright to competence following LeBlanc's determination of 'incompetent'.District Attorney Cam Morvant II has taken issue in past days with similarly short sessions the defense's doctors had with Wright, one of whom concluded as recently as last week that Wright would not be able to assist his attorneys.However, Glenn Ahava, Wright's psychologist at the hospital who observed, tested and interviewed him for several months and said that watching Wright interact with his attorney Kerry Cuccia was a 'turning point' in ultimately determining Wright was fit to stand trial.More information also came out Friday about an alleged confession Wright made to guards at his former hospital. Wright's attorney read a statement a guard alleges he made.'It started out normal ... but once I tried to enroll it in school, they told me it would never learn anything. So I brought it home,' Wright allegedly said about Lirette. 'It would stick its fingers in its eyes and pull its hair until it bled. So my girlfriend told me to chop its feet off, plead insanity, I'd have to do a few years, then come home and I'd get a (Social Security) check.'Jesslyn Lirette, Wright's former girlfriend and Jori Lirette's mother, has been present during every day of the hearing. When this was read outloud, she audibly whispered, 'What?' 'I was very hurt by it, and it's not true,' she later said of the statement.POSSIBLE OUTCOMESLeBlanc does not necessarily have to make a decision the day the hearing ends.If he rules Wright is competent, legal proceedings will continue. If he rules Wright is not competent, he will return to the mental hospital where doctors will try to treat him again, Morvant has previously said.'The state can continue to detain a defendant to try and restore their competence, and they can continue to do that for a 'reasonable period of time,' ' said Tulane University law professor Katherine Mattes, citing the U.S. Supreme Court decision about the matter. It does not specify how long that is.If a judge decides a defendant will never be fit to stand trial, that person is then sent back to the state mental hospital, Mattes said. If a person is later deemed not to be a danger to himself or others, he or she can be released from the hospital, though in Wright's case this may be unlikely.'Practically speaking something like this? I can't imagine the judge would,' Mattes said.This week's hearing only addresses his current mental state. It does not address whether Wright was insane at the time of the alleged crime. Wright has not entered a plea. If LeBlanc finds him competent, not guilty by reason of insanity is one possible plea Wright could then make.A 'not guilty by reason of insanity' determination results in a sentence to a mental hospital.Staff Writer Katie Urbaszewski can be reached at 448-7671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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