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Holocaust museum shooting suspect opposes psych evaluation

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Bail denied for accused Holocaust Memorial Museum shooter
  • During hearing, James von Brunn says he doesn't want a psychiatric evaluation
  • U.S. District Court judge orders an evaluation anyway, within 30 days
  • Von Brunn is charged in the death of Holocaust museum guard Stephen Johns
From Paul Courson
CNN
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The man charged with murder in the shooting death of a guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was denied bail Wednesday and will undergo psychiatric testing against his will.

A memorial of flowers to slain security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns sits outside the museum in June.

"Your Constitution guarantees me a speedy and fair trial," James von Brunn said from his wheelchair.

James von Brunn ignored the advice of the judge and his defense attorney and addressed the court during a hearing to fight any delays as prosecutors press their case.

"Your Constitution guarantees me a speedy and fair trial," he said from his wheelchair during the hearing before U.S. District Judge Reginald Walton.

But Walton granted the defense request for a mental evaluation, which will take place within the next 30 days at a facility in Butner, North Carolina.

Von Brunn, a self-avowed white supremacist, will remain in custody after the judge said there were no conditions for release that would protect the public. Federal prosecutor Nicole Waid said von Brunn is "dangerous because this defendant has nothing to lose," and that he wants to be "a martyr for his cause."

Von Brunn's attorney, public defender A.J. Kramer, did not challenge the government's request to deny bail, saying "we don't have any evidence to offer at this time."

Kramer also convinced the judge to order a competency exam, which will include observations as to whether von Brunn understands the charges and can assist in his own defense.

Prosecutors said four of the charges in the indictment are capital offenses and could mean the death penalty if he is convicted.

Waid told the judge the government's evidence is "overwhelming" and includes security camera video from the June 10 attack, in which von Brunn is seen raising a gun and shooting guard Stephen Tyrone Johns, who had opened the door for him.

As Johns stumbled back mortally wounded, Waid said, "you can see the defendant fire two more times," before he is shot and wounded by other guards. Also seen on the tape is the weapon being taken from von Brunn's hands, the prosecutor said.

During the discussions about psychiatric testing, von Brunn looked at spectators in the courtroom and shook his head as if to say "no," when it became clear he would not be arraigned on the charges unless he is deemed competent.

"Mr. von Brunn, I advise that you not speak," the judge said, explaining that his attorney can best represent him.

But von Brunn ignored his advice.

"I'm a United States citizen, and as a U.S. Naval officer, I swore to protect my country," he said. "I take my vows very seriously."

The 89-year-old World War II veteran did not explain his remarks.

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