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Mental evaluation ordered for boxer Jermain Taylor

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Champion middleweight boxer Jermain Taylor, who is facing charges in two gun-related incidents, must undergo a mental evaluation, an Arkansas judge said Tuesday.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson granted a request from Taylor's attorneys that Taylor be moved to a state hospital for a full evaluation, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported ( ).

He has pleaded not guilty to first-degree battery and first-degree terroristic threatening charges stemming from an August shooting of his cousin at his home in Maumelle. And Taylor last week was charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a minor after police said he opened fire and threatened to shoot a family during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Little Rock.

Prosecutors sought to have Taylor's bond revoked in the first case after last week's arrest, so he was arrested again pending Tuesday's hearing. Instead, the judge agreed to a request from Taylor's attorney, Hubert Alexander, to have Taylor immediately enter a hospital for an evaluation.

Afterward, Alexander said it likely would include a full mental and health evaluation.

"Everybody is saying this isn't the Jermain Taylor they know," Alexander said. "We're trying to figure out who in the heck it is."

Johnson also granted a request from prosecutors to have Taylor undergo a mental evaluation at a state hospital, which will include a neuropsychological evaluation. Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Johnson told the judge the state believes Taylor is a "danger to himself and other people."

Taylor is due back in court Feb. 10, and results from the mental evaluation will be presented to the court on April 27.

Taylor won the International Boxing Federation middleweight title in October and has served as an unofficial ambassador for Arkansas since 2000, when he won a bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics.

Taylor had been scheduled to defend his title against Sergio Mora on Feb. 6 at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. Tom Brown, spokesman for co-promoter Goosen Promotions of Sherman Oaks, California, said Tuesday that the match had been canceled.

"He's been off the date for about a week," Brown said.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,

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