MODESTO — A judge on Wednesday ordered a mental health examination for a man accused of trying to abduct an 8-year-old boy Sunday evening in north Modesto.
Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Thomas Zeff said he was doubtful of John Otis Jenkins' ability to understand the court proceedings after the defendant had an outburst as he entered the courtroom.
Bailiffs ushered in Jenkins, who was wearing a gray jail inmate jump suit and shackles on his wrists and ankles. With a startled look in his eyes, Jenkins shouted, "Everybody knows I need help!"
A bailiff and his court-appointed defense attorney told Jenkins to be quiet as he sat down for his pretrial hearing. The defendant has been charged with kidnapping, but the judge suspended the criminal case.
Zeff said psychologist Phil Trompetter will examine Jenkins to determine whether the defendant is mentally healthy enough to face the charges against him. Jenkins also is accused of violating probation in a 2012 grand theft conviction and two misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and obstruction stemming from a February incident.
The judge scheduled Jenkins to return to court May 22 after his mental health evaluation. The defendant remains in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail.
As he was ushered out of the courtroom, Jenkins shouted, "Can anybody help me with a good damn life, f---, just like you?"
The alleged victim's mother said her son was playing basketball in his driveway with his 13-year-old brother and a 13-year-old girl who lives next door when they saw the suspect.
She said Jenkins was trying to open the neighbor's door and was looking in her windows. That is when police say the man walked over, picked up the 8-year-old and started walking away.
Modesto police said the 13-year-old girl ran to the boy's aid and pulled him out of Jenkins' grasp. The children ran inside and alerted their mothers, who called police.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2394.