HOUSTON — A new court document filed Wednesday shows Derion Vence has been ordered to undergo a mental health assessment.
The document says a qualified mental health professional staff of the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD is ordered to collect information "to determine whether the Defendant has a mental illness...or is a person with an intellectual disability..."
KHOU 11 Legal Analyst Gerald Treece cautioned that this doesn't mean attorney's are going to be pursuing an insanity defense. The legal battles Treece says are only getting started.
"Defense lawyers are very creative with motions," said Treece. "This is just the beginning of these creative motions."
Vence remains charged with tampering with evidence related to a human corpse in connection to Maleah Davis’ death. He remains in the Harris County Jail.
Maleah’s remains were found Friday on the side of an Arkansas highway. Community activist Quanell X said Vence told him where to find the remains when he went to go visit him at jail.
"We had a long conversation," Quanell said. "We spoke about details surrounding Maleah's disappearance. We spoke about his relationship with Brittany (Bowens, Maleah's mother)."
Legal expert Gerald Treece said having Maleah's body helps prosecutors build a tougher case against Maleah's stepdad Derion Vence.
"I'll give you a guarantee, that child didn't kill herself or carry herself to Arkansas," Treece said. "He will be charged with first-degree murder, and they'll ask for the death penalty. It'll be a capital murder case."
The Houston Police Department said they will continue to work with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and other partners to ensure everyone responsible for Maleah’s death are held accountable.
“HPD will not rest until justice is serves in this case.”
A cause of death has not yet been determined.