Nearly three years have passed since the shooting at Santa Fe High School. It has been three years of agony and tears.

Now it seems that the accused shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, will remain in long-term care.

My daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, who was only 14, was shot and killed in that event.

I believe Pagourtzis is well enough to withstand trial. Leading up to the shooting, he was able to purchase a gift card that allowed him to purchase ammunition in bulk. He posted on his personal Facebook page that he was enthralled with the Columbine shooting, and he supported the Nazi party politics.

He was aware enough to wear his oversized trench coat to school to get everyone used to his wardrobe choices. The day of the shooting he knew he wanted to wear his hat that read “born to kill.” He was able to converse with Santa Fe Independent School District staff who stopped him in the hallway.

He was able to recount his actions on the day of the crime.

While he remains alive and whole in mental health treatment, the case remains open. He’s still allowed visitors such as lawyers. One begins to wonder if he’s being coached on behavior techniques to avoid trial.

At the same time, families of the deceased aren’t allowed to have an autopsy report from the medical examiner’s office — it might damage the case. We’re not allowed to have too much information about anything, lest the case gets spoiled. We will probably never have a day in court as long as he remains in treatment.

Texas lawmakers told families after the shooting that we would get justice, we would get closure. They were upset at the loss of life. They said they would help. We hoped it would be a quick affair. There’s enough evidence of him entering the classroom. Survivors who share their story, it all matches that he committed the acts of murder. Receipts show that he bought the supplies needed. His social media shows he was in a fit state when he entered the classroom.

It’s time to stop skirting the issue. Take Pagourtzis to court and let families start to process and move forward from this terrible, and preventable, crime.

Editor’s note: Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who was charged with numerous counts of murder in the Santa Fe shooting, was judged to be incompetent to stand trial and was committed to the custody of a state mental health facility. He is supposed to be periodically reassessed for competency.

Rhonda Hart lives in Texas City.


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(5) comments

Charles Douglas

I agree with you Ms. Hart! I think a scam is going on with that guy!

" Let Judgement run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream." ....AMOS 5:24.

Stephanie Martin

I also agree 100%!

Craig Mason

I agree and god bless you and your family.

Richard George

Why is he still wasting oxygen? I whole heartedly believe in due process, but if you are caught with a smoking gun, on video, eye witnesses and confess, there is no reason to drag this out. If you take an innocent life, you should be met with the same punishment asap. What good could come from keeping a killer alive? I think it would send a clear message to anyone contemplating a similar act. Go directly to the front of the line for punishment. Realistically, can he ever be rehabilitated to be a productive member of society? I may seem calloused, but I can only imagine how taxing it would be for me, knowing he is still alive after taking so many lives from others.

Carlos Ponce

"Why is he still wasting oxygen?" The Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons, (2005).

SCOTUS ruling against Capital Punishment for crimes committed prior to 18th birthday are Kennedy, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer.

Dissenting opinion by Chief Justice Rehnquist,Thomas, O'Connor and Scalia.

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