Monday, January 18, 2010

"Despite psychosis, schizoaffective disorder and other mental issues, a court-ordered evaluation found her competent for trial"

I don't know what's crazier: the fact that we closed our mental hospitals and have hundreds of thousands of severely mentally ill people living unsupervised without adequate psychiatric treatment and without psychotropic medicines; or the fact that when one of these untreated mental patients commits a violent crime we hold them criminally responsible for "acting crazy."

In San Antonio, Texas, Denise Crouch, who suffers from psychosis and schizoaffective disorder, should have been hospitalized. Instead, she was set "free", she killed one of her neighbors and now, according to this account in the Express-News, she is going to be tried as if she actually could make a rational decision to stab someone:
HONDO — A woman with a history of mental illness faces trial starting Tuesday on a murder charge in connection with the stabbing death of a fellow resident of the Devine Trailer Park.

Denise Crouch, 39, admitted retrieving a knife from her home and killing James “Red” Long after exchanging words with him April 27, 2008, according to court records.

Long, 40, also identified Crouch as his attacker in a 911 call he made before dying in an ambulance on the way to a hospital, authorities said.

Crouch was arrested at her trailer shortly after the attack and has been held since then under $250,000 bail at the Medina County Jail.

Despite past hospitalizations for psychosis, schizoaffective disorder and other mental issues that first affected Crouch as a teen, a court-ordered evaluation found her competent for trial.

“She's been evaluated and come back sane,” said Assistant District Attorney Mike Cohen, who expects the jury trial to last about six days.

Crouch's attorney Russell Delk, who put the court on notice that he'll raise an insanity defense, could not be reached for comment.

A motion he filed seeking the competency exam said Crouch had had multiple psychiatric hospitalizations since 1991 at facilities in San Antonio, Devine, Kerrville, Louisiana and California.

Crouch's mental illness history includes “auditory hallucinations commanding her to hurt herself and others, persecutory and grandiose delusional thinking, paranoid delusions and disorganized thinking,” it said.

Canada is no better than we are when it comes to trying untreated mentally ill "criminals" for their irrational acts. Trevor James La Pierre is going on trial next week for murdering his 74-year-old neighbor who was delivering Christmas cards.

Here is The Record's story of the crime from 2007:
Paul La Pierre was rushing his mentally unstable son to a psychiatric ward Tuesday afternoon when police stopped their cab and arrested Trevor La Pierre.

He has been charged with first-degree murder in last Saturday's slaying of Hunter Brown.

"I knew he was off the wall,'' a shaken Paul La Pierre said outside court yesterday before his 22-old-son made his first appearance.

"I realized the severity of the situation. He'd been using insane language and acting like he was a victim of everything.''

Brown, a 74-year-old grandfather, was attacked with an edged weapon as he delivered Christmas cards to neighbours on his suburban street.

During his brief appearance in Kitchener's Ontario Court, Trevor James La Pierre looked distraught, teary-eyed and dishevelled.

His long black hair was wild and matted. He wore a loose, sleeveless white T-shirt, issued by police as protective clothing.

Brown's death stunned family and neighbours who couldn't understand why anyone would launch an unprovoked attack on a man known for selflessly helping others.

Paul La Pierre said his son has been struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness.

In the past year and half, he's been hospitalized four times, he said. Three of those times were at the Grand River Hospital psychiatric ward. He was released just five or six weeks ago.

"We fought,'' his father said. "He was always released.

"We said, 'Look, we don't think he's ready.' But he was self-admitted. They couldn't hold him. This is totally unnecessary. It could have been prevented.''

On Tuesday morning, he had made his son visit his psychiatrist.

"They released him with a different prescription."

He was so worried about his son's recent erratic behaviour, he called a cab to take him to the hospital later that day.

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