A 48-year-old Unionville man facing multiple life sentences for allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting an 8-year-old Millington area child has been ordered to undergo several psychiatric evaluations.
Tuscola County District Court Judge Kim D. Glaspie ordered David Alex Brigham to undergo the evaluations for criminal responsibility and competence. Brigham is charged with 24 counts related to the alleged July 30 abduction.
The charges include two counts of kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment, and 18 counts of criminal sexual conduct. Brigham faces up to life in prison on eight of the counts related to kidnapping and first degree criminal sexual conduct, which by legal definition includes sexual penetration.
Mark Reene, prosecutor, Tuscola County, said such evaluations are relatively common in cases such as Brigham’s, but that it doesn’t mean it’s always an ideal situation.
“It’s always frustrating because it slows down the process from our perspective,” Reene told The Advertiser. “But it’s not an uncommon step and we’ll work our way through it.”
The evaluations will take place at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Ypsilanti.
Reene said Brigham will be transported from Tuscola County Jail to the center in Ypsilanti. It could take up to two months before the evaluations occur.
The tests are expected to take one day to complete.
Officials from the center will gather details from the case, any other documents “that might shed light on his mental status,” and interview Brigham, Reene said.
The competency portion of the evaluating process is designed to determine if he able to assist in his own defense. Evaluations also will be used to determine if Brigham understands the role of his own attorney, the judge, and the prosecutor.
The criminal responsibility part of the evaluations will be used “to determine if he can be held criminally responsible for what he has allegedly done,” Reene said.
The alleged incident – called “the ultimate nightmare” by Reene – happened in the early morning hours of July 30, when the child was abducted from a home in “the area of Swaffer Road in Millington.”
The child was reported missing at 5:20 a.m. and the Tuscola County Sheriff’s Department began an immediate search. Reene described Brigham’s acquaintance with the child as a “former relative through marriage.” He added that Brigham had no permission to enter the residence for any reason, such as babysitting.
Reene alleged assaults “were in the car, in the area.”
Following the alleged assaults, at about 10:30 a.m., Brigham and the child returned to the child’s residence while law enforcement was there, Reene said. For legal reasons, he couldn’t comment on why Brigham and the child returned to the residence.
Reene said Brigham was immediately taken into custody.
Initially, his bond was set at $3 million, but it was later withdrawn completely – an option that Reene said can be used in certain extreme cases, such as Brigham’s.
At the time of his arrest, Brigham’s primary residence was in Unionville, though Reene said “he was more of a floater.” He is not listed on the state’s Sex Offender Registry.
Since the time of return, the child has been in protective custody and undergoing extensive counseling and treatment.
Reene said investigators are asking anyone with additional information about Brigham to call the Tuscola County Sheriff’s Department at 989-673-8161.
Andrew Dietderich is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org