Mental evaluation ordered for local man accused of terror attack plot

Competency hearing for local terror suspect Tuesday

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19/AP) - A judge has ordered that a Green Township man charged with plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol undergo a mental evaluation to determine whether he is competent to stand trial.

Christopher Cornell's mental state was called into question at a competency hearing Tuesday in federal court Downtown. The 21-year-old will undergo a psychiatric evaluation at a federal prison medical facility, U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith ruled.

Judge Beckwith said she'll also set a deadline on potential use of an insanity defense for Cornell. His attorneys said last week in a court filing that there's "reasonable cause" to believe he has a mental disease or defect.

Cornell's defense claim to have evidence, including medical records and family testimony, to support their case. Attorneys have not determined whether or not they will use an insanity defense, according to statements made in court.

Cornell was not present at Tuesday's hearing. His next status hearing is set for April 2016.

Cornell was arrested outside a gun shop after buying firearms and 600 rounds of ammunition in January. Two months after his arrest, Cornell detailed his plot in a phone call from his jail cell.

"I would have released more bullets on the Senate and House of Representative members and I would have attacked the Israeli Embassy and various other buildings," Cornell said when he called the FOX19 NOW newsroom.

The Oak Hills High School grad is accused of plotting with an FBI informant to plan an attack in Washington, D.C. that included planting pipe bombs around the U.S. Capitol and the Israeli embassy with the intention of then shooting people as they ran from the buildings to escape the bombs.

Cornell was charged with three felony counts, including attempted murder of government employees and officials.

A grand jury in May indicted Cornell for allegedly trying to support ISIS.

FOX19 NOW will be in the courtroom and provide updates on this developing story throughout the morning.

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