Man accused in kidnap, wounding of Miss. child to remain in jail

Published 6:06 pm Friday, July 28, 2006

A mental evaluation was ordered Thursday for Michael Pruitt, who is accused of kidnapping and shooting a 6-year-old Marshall County girl.

During the hearing in Lafayette County Circuit Court, defense attorney John L. Dolan asked that the issue of bond be taken up later date.

Dolan also requested a mental evaluation for Pruitt and Assistant District Attorney Lelani Hill agreed to the request. Pruitt will remain in jail until the mental evaluation can be scheduled, officials said.

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“Due to the nature of the charges, the state does not have any objections,” Hill told Circuit Judge Andrew Howorth.

Pruitt is charged with kidnapping the child from her home in the Laws Hill community on Saturday. He was also charged with sexual battery and aggravated assault for allegedly shooting the child in the head.

The girl was found on Sunday in underbrush behind an abandoned house off a county road near the Cayce community after Pruitt led law enforcement officers to her and the gun.

The unidentified girl is at Le Bonheur’s Children’s Medical Center in Memphis recovering from surgery for the head wound.

Following the hearing, Dolan said Pruitt needed to be evaluated by a mental health professional “to give all parties a clear picture of the state of mind he was in at the time of the alleged offense and afterwards.”

The delay in the bond hearing was to give more time for an investigation into the events and to ensure the safety of Pruitt, Dolan said.

“I do not have a full file yet, and the sheriff’s only 100 hours into investigation,” he said. “There’s an absence of sufficient factual information necessary for a bond hearing.”

Dolan also said he would be concerned for his client’s safety were Pruitt to be released from custody.