A Baton Rouge man did not enter a plea at his initial court appearance Tuesday on a charge that he interfered with security personnel Aug. 22 at Metro Airport.
Instead, he will be sent to a federal prison for an evaluation of his mental competence.
Andrew Alessi, 37, is accused of locking himself in the cockpit of an American Eagle passenger plane for approximately three hours.
Police spokesman Cpl. L’Jean McKneely said on Aug. 22 that someone called police that morning and reported Alessi wanted officers to kill him.
Alessi was not armed and no one was injured during the incident.
On Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alan A. Stevens asked U.S. Magistrate Docia L. Dalby to order Alessi’s continued detention on the charge.
Defense attorney J. David Bourland did not object to Stevens’ motion for detention, but added Alessi was not prepared to enter any plea in the criminal case.
Bourland said U.S. District Judge James J. Brady entered an order Friday that will send the father of three young children to a federal prison for evaluation of his mental competence.
Stevens did not object to the order for Alessi’s evaluation.
After the hearing, Bourland said the federal Bureau of Prisons does extensive evaluations of prisoners whose mental competence is questionable.
“They do a comprehensive job,” Bourland said. “That could take four months, six months, even longer. Whatever is needed.”
Bourland said he wants a determination as to whether Alessi was sufficiently competent to understand the significance of his decision to lock himself into the passenger plane’s cockpit.
The defense attorney also said he wants a determination as to Alessi’s current ability to understand the charge against him and assist in his defense.
Alessi has been in custody since Aug. 22.
Three days after Alessi’s arrest at the airport, he was alleged in an affidavit by Brian Dedon of the Sheriff’s Office to have committed felony theft by selling a woman’s 2003 Chevrolet Suburban without her permission.
A man who agreed to pay $7,000 for the vehicle, allegedly gave Alessi $3,500 immediately, but withheld the other half of the purchase price until transfer of the Suburban’s title.
Alessi “was aware that the vehicle owner had no intent to transfer title of the vehicle to him or anyone else,” Dedon alleged in his affidavit in 19th Judicial District Court that
Alessi admitted “he had already spent the” $3,500, Dedon said.
Bourland told Brady last week that Alessi “believes he is (a) deity on Earth, that God is instructing him as to what to do and where to go, that unseen voices are speaking to him, directing his activities.”