A Lake Charles man accused in the April death of a Baton Rouge nurse expressed bewilderment Wednesday over why he was in court, so a judge ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation.

Jessie Wayne Guillory appeared in court for his arraignment on a manslaughter charge in the killing of Baton Rouge General Medical Center nurse Lynne Truxillo, but he appeared confused when state District Judge Bonnie Jackson advised him of the charge against him.

"I don't know anything about that," the 55-year-old Guillory replied to the judge. His ankles were shackled while he sat in a wheelchair.

At that point, Jackson postponed the arraignment and appointed two doctors to examine him and evaluate his competency to proceed with the court case.

During an earlier recess when the judge was not in the courtroom, Guillory told a courtroom security officer several times that he didn't know why he was in court.

Guillory was a behavioral health patient at Baton Rouge General when he allegedly attacked Truxillo, 56, on April 4. She died April 11 from complications resulting from the attack. Her death was ruled a homicide.

The incident was the most serious of a series of attacks on health care personnel in Baton Rouge this year.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said in August that Guillory has significant mental and physical problems.

Guillory initially attacked another nurse in the hospital's behavioral health unit at its Mid City campus, police have said, and Truxillo came to the aid of her colleague. Guillory then turned on her, grabbing her neck and striking her head on a desk. She injured her leg trying to escape, police said.

Doctors later determined Truxillo had torn her right ACL, which would require surgery, according to an arrest warrant. But she began having trouble breathing and went into cardiac arrest multiple times before doctors were ultimately unable to revive her.

Truxillo's death, and other incidents involving attacks on medical personnel in Baton Rouge since her attack, have prompted demands for better hospital safety practices to minimize dangers to health care professionals.

Jackson appointed the local public defenders office to represent Guillory. His next court date is in January.

Email Joe Gyan Jr. at jgyan@theadvocate.com.