The uncle accused of kidnapping 9-year-old Carlie Trent must undergo a mental evaluation before his case can continue, a judge ruled Monday.
Gary Simpson, 58, was scheduled to be arraigned, but his public defender asked instead that the defendant undergo psychiatric testing, according to CBS affiliate WVLT-TV.
At his initial court hearing last week, Simpson said he didn’t understand the charge filed against him for alleging taking the little girl from her elementary school and disappearing with her for eight days.
“I don’t understand the kidnapping,” he told the court, saying it was something the girlfriend of Carlie’s dad did on “occasion.”
Searchers found the two on May 12 in a remote Tennessee county after an Amber Alert had been issued and an extensive manhunt was put in place.
If convicted, Simpson faces up 25 years in prison.
The little girl was apparently unharmed.
Simpson's next hearing is scheduled for July 13.