A Zachary man accused in the 2017 beating, stabbing and shooting death of his 11-month-old son will be evaluated by two mental health experts to determine whether he was sane at the time of the horrific crime, a judge decided Tuesday.

Fabian Smith, 35, will be examined by psychiatrist Jose Artecona and psychologist Charles Vosburg in advance of a May 11 sanity hearing, state District Judge Bonnie Jackson ordered.

Smith's attorney, East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant Public Defender Robert Ray, requested the mental evaluation last week.

Smith is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree cruelty to a juvenile in the killing of Jericho Smith on Oct. 14, 2017, inside their Hancock Street home. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in custody.

Zachary police detectives believe Smith could have been under the influence of “some type of substance” because he said he couldn't remember what happened “and the last thing that he could recall was picking up food from Burger King for the children,” a search warrant states.

One of those detectives, Enoch Sims, testified at a hearing in late 2017 that Smith told a neighbor, “I messed up, I messed up, I messed up.” Sims said Jericho’s then-2-year-old sibling told him, “My daddy killed the baby!”

Zachary police officer Cothern Williams, the first officer on the scene, testified he saw Smith walk out of the house and heard him say, “My baby, my baby!”

In a motion requesting the appointment of a sanity commission, Ray wrote that Smith "may have been insane at the time of the commission of the alleged offense."

He cited the circumstances surrounding the offense, the method and manner of the offense, the statements made by Smith at the time the offense was committed, and the nature of the statement made to law enforcement officers after his arrest.

Ray is asking that Artecona and Vosburg focus their attention on several questions, including "whether or not the defendant is in such condition of mind and memory as to be able to recall the evidence connected with the offense ... so as to enable him to advise counsel in a rational manner and to testify at the trial of his case if called upon to do so."

Jericho died of multiple gunshot and stab wounds and blunt force injuries, coroner's officials said. A gun and knife were found inside the home.

The toddler was shot in the head and neck, and had gunshot residue around his face — an indication that he was shot at close range, Sims testified in November 2017.

Smith was the only adult in his home at the time of Jericho’s death, police said. The baby’s mother was at work.

Smith faces a mandatory term of life in prison if found guilty of second-degree murder. Second-degree cruelty to a juvenile carries up to 40 years behind bars.

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