NEWS UPDATE: Psychiatric evaluation ordered for Hairston in gunman hoax case

Posted: 2/13/13  9:29 p.m. 

A federal judge has ordered a psychiatric evaluation for the UVa-Wise student accused of calling 911 with a fake report of a gunman on campus last month.

Bryant Hairston
Bryant A. Hairston, 20.

Bryant Alexander Hairston’s attorney requested the competency evaluation at a hearing on Feb. 8, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Abingdon.

Federal Magistrate Judge Pamela Sargent ordered the evaluation to be done at an outpatient facility at Hairston’s expense, records show. Prosecutors agreed to the screening as long as it is done by a government-approved expert.

Hairston, 20, of Martinsville, was due to be arraigned on Feb. 15. That hearing has been postponed until after the evaluation.

The sophomore psychology major was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond at a Jan. 28 hearing at which Sargent “noted on the record that she has some concerns as to [the] defendant’s mental condition,” court records show.

The FBI charges Hairston with “knowingly making materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements and representations.” Investigators say he phoned in the hoax on Jan. 23 to better his standing in an unrelated assault and battery case in which he’s accused.

The fictitious report of a gunman shut down UVa-Wise for nearly two hours as several police agencies searched campus.

If convicted of the federal charge, Hairston could be fined and/or face up to five years in prison.

Jordan Fifer

Interdisciplinary studies major Jordan Fifer served as The Highland Cavalier's editor-in-chief and online editor in the 2012-2013 academic year. He previously served as staff writer, news editor and photo editor.

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