HAWKINS COUNTY, TN (WJHL) – Monday afternoon, Gary Simpson’s public defender asked the judge to accept his motion for Simpson to undergo a mental evaluation.
The public defender said the mental evaluation is needed in order to determine whether or not he understood “the alleged actions that occurred and if he did understand those consequences and the nature of it.”
The state did not object to the motion.
The judge granted the motion request. So that means, a preliminary hearing is delayed to allow time for the mental evaluation. It takes up to six weeks for an evaluation into a person’s mental state to be complete.
Simpson’s aunt Lois Salyers was in the courtroom audience Monday. When Simpson saw her he waved and smiled at her. She said she is happy the judge granted the evaluation.
“I think he’s out of reality, just didn’t understand, don’t know, don’t think he had any intention of hurting the kid because he’s helped take care, raise her,” Salyers said.
She said she and her family still have lots of unanswered questions.
“We don’t understand why. Wish we had an answer. Been a good person all of his life. Never even had a speeding ticket,” Salyers said.
Simpson’s preliminary hearing has been rescheduled to July 13 at 1:00 p.m.
Simpson is charged with felony aggravated kidnapping and violation of custodial interference. On May 4, investigators said 58-year-old Simpson checked his niece, 9-year-old Carlie Trent out of school under false pretenses.
After an 8-day manhunt, Carlie and her uncle-by-marriage were found in Hawkins County on a piece of property near Clinch Mountain by citizens. Last week, Simpson told Judge Wolfenbarger that he did not understand why he is charged with kidnapping.
Simpson allegedly told school administrators that Carlie’s father had been in a car accident and that Carlie would not be in school the next day.
Last week, the judge ordered Simpson not to contact Carlie Trent or her immediate family members. His bond remains at $1 million.