Teen’s mental status questioned after conviction for shooting Portsmouth police officer

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A sentencing hearing for a teenager convicted of shooting a Portsmouth police officer has been continued.

WAVY’s Joe Fisher reports defense attorneys are planning to file a motion for a mental evaluation for 16-year-old Will Patterson. A jury convicted Patterson of trying to kill Officer Angelina Baaklini during a trial in April.

Sgt. Matt Crutcher, president of the Portsmouth Fraternal Order of Police, said, “I don’t feel very confident that [Patterson] has mental issues. I feel that he is a criminal and whatever caused him to want to become a murderer I don’t know. He did try to kill her. He is a danger to society.”

Baaklini was shot in November while trying to detain Patterson as a runaway. She spent 15 days in the hospital recovering.

Wilmesha Speller, Patterson’s mother, says her son’s mental state should have been taken into consideration before the trial. 

“I’m behind him 100 percent. I am always behind him,” Speller said.

The continuance comes after a psychologist ruled Patterson is not competent to stand trial for two unrelated robberies that allegedly happened in the weeks before the shooting. 

Brenda Spry, the public defender representing Patterson, says the same mental evaluation could be used to set aside the conviction for attempted murder. 

Shaniqua Clark Nelson, senior assistant commonwealth’s attorney, says questions about Patterson’s mental capacity should have been addressed before trial. 

“Competency issues have to be raised at any point prior to trial or during trial, but at this stage he has been tried, he has been convicted,” said Clark Nelson. 

Patterson will be back in court August 2.  

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