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Gilby, N.D., robbery suspect<br></br> to begin mental evaluations

Having shown unusual and uncooperative behavior during court appearances, a suspect in the robbery of a Gilby, N.D., bank is expected to receive mental health evaluations at the North Dakota State Hospital.

Clifton Patterson
Clifton Patterson

Having shown unusual and uncooperative behavior during court appearances, a suspect in the robbery of a Gilby, N.D., bank is expected to receive mental health evaluations at the North Dakota State Hospital.

Clifton Patterson, 63, is charged with the theft and unauthorized use of a sport-utility vehicle investigators believe was used in the May 26 robbery at the small-town bank.

Patterson's court-appointed attorney, Rebecca Heigaard McGurran, said Tuesday that her client will be evaluated to determine if he's fit to stand trial. He'll also undergo another evaluation, she said, to answer the question: "Did he understand what he was doing when the alleged incident took place?"

Depending on the answer to that question, a mental health defense may be used, Heigaard McGurran said.

She said such evaluations, done by forensic psychiatrists, are standard when questions exist about a defendant's mental health.

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"They certainly aren't things that are done every day, but it's not unusual," she said.

Deputies are expected to transport Patterson to the state hospital in Jamestown, N.D., later this month, but Heigaard McGurran would not give the specific date. She said he will likely go down and come back the same day.

Meanwhile, Patterson's case has been postponed with no future court dates set in state District Court.

Prosecutors believe that Patterson has been acting the way he has, so he can receive a mental health evaluation. Patterson has a past record of armed robberies and other crimes, according to the prosecution.

Patterson, who had been living in Grand Forks, was arrested in Mississippi in June. He remains at the Grand Forks County jail on $70,000 bond.

Two robbers appeared in surveillance stills captured during the Gilby heist in which more than $50,000 was stolen. So far, Patterson has been the sole person of interest specified publicly by investigators. Buthe has not been charged in the robbery itself.

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