Mental health court to evaluate if Semmie Williams Jr. fit to stand trial

The defense team suffered a loss Monday in the case of Semmie Williams Jr., the homeless vagrant accused of stabbing to death a Palm Beach Gardens teenager.

Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Kirk Volker ruled to temporarily transfer the case to mental health court, where Williams, 39, can be evaluated by two experts. It will be up to those experts to determine whether Williams will be competent enough to stand trial.

State Attorney Dave Aronberg’s office is seeking the death penalty for Williams, who is accused of killing Ryan Rogers while the teen was riding his bike down Central Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens on Nov. 1.

Police say 39-year-old Semmie Williams Jr. stabbed Ryan Rogers to death in Palm Beach Gardens.

Police said they found a blood-stained handkerchief in suspect’s possession. DNA from earphones found at the crime scene matched Williams, police previously said.

Aronberg’s office recently chose not to prosecute Williams stemmed from his fight with a sheriff’s deputy while he was being booked on the murder charge.

The deputy also claimed that Williams then raised his voice and said: “Yes, I killed that mother (expletive) and I will kill you too. Are you the mother (expletive) judge?”

This photo shows a cut on Semmie Williams Jr.’s head after a fight with officers at the Palm Beach County Main Jail.

Monday’s decision to send Williams’ case to mental health court comes after his public defender filed a motion to keep the process to determine Williams’ competency in the same court, which will preside over the capital trial, reported by first time Contact 5.

The motion stated that Williams “appears incapable of relevantly testifying” or “participating meaningfully” in “the defense of a case in which the state is seeking the death penalty.”

The court filing also mentioned Williams history of mental illness and his role in a previous criminal case, saying he suffered from schizophrenia.

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Williams is housed in the Palm Beach County Jail Mental Health Unit.

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