McNish is charged with second-degree robbery, a class-b felony, which could land him in prison for five to 15 years if he’s convicted. He was scheduled for a preliminary hearing in the case on Friday, but Assistant Public Defender Angela Tatro asked for the mental health evaluation.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ron Holiday told the judge that the defendant has shown no evidence of a mental health concern in the past, and that he was “trying to manipulate the system for a delay.”
Associate Judge Rebecca Spencer cancelled the hearing as officials await an order for the evaluation and a formal written motion from Tatro. That could take anywhere from 60 to 90 days.
McNish remains behind bars at the Buchanan County Jail.
In the original charging documents, police said their response to a traffic accident June 9 in the 4100 block of Pickett Road turned into an investigation of a robbery.
“Officers were able to determine that the defendant had wrecked a vehicle at that location that he had earlier stolen,” said Det. Frank Till with the St. Joseph Police Department. “When a passerby, not knowing that it was anything more then an accident, stopped to assist the defendant, the defendant then jumped in the vehicle of the passerby and attempted to steal it.”
Till said a struggle ensued and McNish wrecked that vehicle while the victim was trying to prevent him from leaving in his car.
“He had a loaded handgun on him when he tried to steal this victim’s vehicle and was threatening the victim with the use of the weapon,” Till said. “The defendant is a suspect in two separate carjackings.”