Mentally ill man spared death
The following article is interesting in that this is one of the rare occasions that I've seen news in which a mentally ill person was actually recognized as such by our legal system. 10% of the 1,587,791 people in jails and prisons on any given day have a serious NBD (neurobiological disorder). That is 159,000 individuals. Better understanding of mental illness by the public at large, and specifically by the legal system in all countries could greatly help reduce this suffering.
A man with 53 convictions on his record Thursday began serving a 15-year
sentence rather than a life sentence under the "three-strikes"
law because of doubts about his mental capacities. Robert Lee Edwards,
47, pleaded guilty to brandishing a knife while struggling with security
guards last year at the Metcalfe Federal Building in downtown Chicago.
Edwards was spared the life sentence through a plea agreement with the
U.S. Attorney's office. Although prosecutors declined to talk about the
plea bargain, it was apparent that the deal was made because Edwards' past
psychological problems made him a poor candidate for implementing the career
criminal law. Last year a psychiatrist said Edwards suffered from paranoid
schizophrenia and was incompetant to stand trial. Edwards has a long history
of criminal activity, dating to 1966. He has served two four-year terms
for aggravated battery and burglary, and was convicted of assaulting law
enforcement officers four times in the last eight years. In the latest
incident involving Edwards, he admitted stalking a woman who worked at
the Metcalfe building with the intent of sexually assualting her. As he
attempted to follow her into the building, he was stopped by security guards.
In the ensuing struggle, he brandished a knife in a threatening manner
and fled. When the guards caught up to him several blocks away, he knocked
one to the ground and struck another with a knapsack. A second knife was
found in the knapsack.
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