Suspect appears in court

Accused killer of AU alum to be evaluated

The man accused of murdering former AU student Tymon Birchett was ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after a preliminary hearing Tuesday.

Enzo Maximilian Costa, who confessed about two weeks ago to murdering Birchett in Birchett's Massachusetts Avenue apartment in December, will be held until his next scheduled court date on April 2. Channing Phillips, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's office, said a court judge decided there was probable cause to believe Costa was responsible for Birchett's death.

Costa was previously charged with second degree murder.

Birchett, 29, widely known as "Tymex," was found dead in a duffel bag in his apartment by U.S. Marshals, who were there to evict him because he had not paid his rent. The D.C. medical examiner's office ruled that he had been beaten and strangled to death after an autopsy.

Costa called the Metropolitan Police Department Feb. 2 to confess to killing Birchett. He and Birchett were at a party together the night of Dec. 9 before they went to the apartment, he said. Costa told MPD detectives that he physically assaulted Birchett because he thought Birchett would sexually assault him.

Tuesday, the judge ordered Costa to undergo a psychiatric evaluation at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, a mental institution in Southeast D.C.

An order like this is "usually the precursor, if you will, to the defense raising a defense of insanity," Phillips said. This means the ordered evaluation will provide evidence of Costa's presumed mental condition.

Costa is being represented by Gladys Joseph, an attorney with the D.C. Public Defender Service. Joseph referred questions to her legal liaison, Julia Leighton, who refused to comment on the case.

An attempt to reach Costa at his last recorded address in Silver Spring, Md., was unsuccessful. A woman who answered the telephone at this residence Tuesday night said Costa did not live there.

Costa's case is now being sent to a grand jury, which has 10 months to deliver an indictment, Phillips said.

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