Most people who have mental illnesses are treated with medication or placed under the care of someone who can monitor their behavior and attempt to help them with their mental health problems. But when treatment and monitoring doesn’t work, sometimes mental illness can cause people to act out in a way they wouldn’t otherwise. One Georgia man who apparently has a history of mental illness now faces significant criminal charges for an alleged incident in a local school.
The 20-year-old man is charged with various offenses, including aggravated assault against a police officer and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was also charged with making terroristic threats. These charges stem from allegations that he recently walked into a school, fired at least six shots in a school office, and possessed a high-powered rifle with hundreds of rounds of ammo.
A school bookkeeper called 911 during the incident and began repeating what the man was allegedly saying, including statements that he should have gone to the mental hospital instead and that he wasn’t on his medication. As repeated by the school bookkeeper, the man’s statements seemed to indicate that he was mentally unstable. Luckily, no one was injured from the attack, included the man who was arrested.
Whenever someone is facing assault charges or any other serious allegations that occurred at a school or other public area, there is a greater likelihood for significant long-term consequences and serious penalties. In those situations, the best possible criminal defense must be put forth as quickly as possible. Various tests and evidence can be used to show that the defendant was mentally unstable at the time of the alleged incident. If accepted, a court may determine that the defendant is too mentally unstable to stand at a criminal trial and the defendant may be placed in a mental institution to receive much needed assistance. Another way to apply a mental infirmity is if the defendant was temporarily insane, which may act as a defense to even some of the most serious criminal charges.
Whatever the case, a defendant should always seek out help immediately when facing criminal charges. Acting quickly can help establish the best defense to minimize any penalties or jail time.
Source: U.S. News, “‘He said he don’t care if he dies’: 911 call from Georgia school shooting released,” M. Alex Johnson, August 22, 2013