Comments about ‘'Extremely rare' plea in Sandy murder has family calling for changes for mentally ill’

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Man who killed elderly woman with golf club declared not guilty by reason of insanity

Published: Monday, May 12 2014 6:05 p.m. MDT

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El Chango Supremo
Rexburg, ID

I do believe that mentally ill people need to be responsible for their actions. He was aware of his condition and chose to stop taking his medication and now someone is dead. Further, people who are mentally ill to that degree should not be allowed to own a firearm or obtain a concealed carry permit.

The truth is he's not mentally ill, he's crazy!

Mentally ill people admit they have a problem and seek help and follow a doctors advice. Crazy people deny there is a problem, discontinue their medication against the advice of doctors and are a menace and a danger to their loved ones and those around them.

Redlands, CA

I'm waiting for someone I know to have a "mental break" and inflict more damage than she already has. She takes meds for something completely different but there's no help out there for mentally ill people, their family, and the community they occasionally terrorize.

Salt Lake City, UT

Unfortunately, most people in our community believe revenge is the goal of the justice system. It is not. The fact is, when both the prosecutor and the defense agree that someone was legally insane at the time of the crime, it is both immoral and unjust to punish them. Legally insane means that the person did not understand the wrongness of their actions at the time of the crime. Punishing someone who is (or was) legally insane is just plain wrong. It does not undo the crime, it does not deter future crime, and it does not in anyway help or bring comfort to the victims. Only a very hate filled person would want to punish someone like that.

Mchenry, IL

Justice for the victim is also justice for the sufferer. We have got to do more than experiment on and separate people with mental illnesses. Would anyone want their mind to go through such thoughts as to actually carry out such awful deeds? If we hadn't wasted decades, centuries really, ignoring the healing in the mental health field people wouldn't be victimized by people with mental illness, and there would be people managing mental illness. I don't believe we have a handle on managing mental illness that we can know a person must be of sound mind when they stop taking meds.

Farmington, Utah

Such a sad story. There does not seem to be a workable solution for people suffering from mental illness who commit crimes. Not enough hospital beds. Our prisons are overflowing with the mentally ill. Statistics are that over half the population of our prisons and jails have some sort of mental illness that requires treatment, but most are not being treated or simply refuse to take prescribed medication. I sympathize with the family in this case, and their fear that the perpetrator of this crime will be released to their care, with the strong possibility of recommitting. There is not enough money anywhere to solve these complex problems.

Kaysville, UT

The fact is those found guilty and mentally ill typically spend a longer time commited to a State hospital than someone not mentally ill would spend in prison. Perhaps the state could amend the law so he wouldn't have the option to get out for some time so the family wouldn't have to stress every 6 months for serious crimes.

How about an automatic ban for owning guns for 5 years for those who are commited against their will to a hospital?

Kearns, UT

Anyone that commits a crime such as this is insane. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't be held responsible.

History Freak
Somewhere in Time, UT

ECT or "shock" treatments can work miracles on people with bipolar disorder. I know this because I have a family member who is receiving them. They are about 85% to 90% effective.

They are not what people think they are. They are actually very easy to receive under anesthetic. I have actually witnessed this being administered quite a number of times. They are amazing. I would encourage anyone who knows someone with this disorder (or other forms of depression) to contact the University of Utah ECT clinic and get help. You will be glad you did.

Clearfield, UT

Unfortunately when someone calls the police when someone with mental illness acts out their loved ends being shot. I am not blaming the police. What can they can do when someone points a weapon at them. I have an ex-spouse with schizophrenia. She would stop taking her medications and end up in the hospital. We were driving down the interstate and she started undressing and tried to get out of the vehicle. Once she walked out of the hospital and walked all way from the U of U home to Kearns. I had no idea where she was. The problem is that it is near impossible to force treatment on someone who is mentally ill. Liberals believe we are violating their civil rights. I say baloney to that. We have homeless people that are mentally ill living on the streets. Society needs to find a better way to help the mentally ill.

Pleasant Grove, UT

As "DrGroovy" points out, a court-ordered commitment to a mental institution is not intended as punishment. There is no justification for imposing a long "sentence" to the institution when a person is found legally insane, as the reason for the commitment is treatment and not punishment. They are kept there until such time as the treating physicians and the court agree that the illness is cured and public safety is not endangered by their release.

During my years working in the law office, we entered only one plea of insanity, and that was a case where the prosecutor not only agreed with us, but had initially urged us to consider that defense. It's not an easy defense to sell to a court or a jury, and it usually results in the person being institutionalized far longer than they would have spent in prison.

And a note to "Flashback": the underlying concept behind legal insanity is that the person is not responsible for their acts and, thus, cannot be held responsible.


Here is a different way to think of mental illness -

If I told you that if you did not say the word "Monkey" for three days you would receive a guaranteed $1,000,000. A sane person would do whatever they had to do not say monkey for three days.

If you told a mentally ill person not to hear the voices for three days and you would give them $1,000,000 it could not happen - the voices would still come.

The first person has the ability to make choices, clear and conscious choices. The second cannot, even for all the money in the world.

It is easy to demand justice of another - probably because we do not walk in their shoes.

(At the same time - I am not suggesting that the dangerously ill get a free pass to walk our streets)

Western Rover
Herriman, UT

DrGroovey, did you not understand Angela C's fear, or are you intentionally misconstruing it as some savage desire for revenge? She does not want her husband confined because she wants him to suffer. She wants him confined so he can't hurt anyone else. This is a legitimate concern even if Kevin C does not understand his actions are wrong; indeed, it is a greater concern.

cincinnati, OH

including one in 2012 when Angela Cuillard said he roamed their Sandy neighborhood with a loaded gun.

He has every legal right to roam anywhere just as you do. Carrying a loaded gun is a constitutional right. I see no problems there.

Now, if he indeed had a verifiable 'dangerous' mental illness, why was he not indefinitely locked up in the hospital instead of mingling with the rest of society?

Prudence would indicate that if you had a viscious dog, you keep the dog under lock and key.

Why then can't we do the same for dangerous individuals?

If you let a viscious dog (or dangerous mentally ill person) loose amongst society, you can expect that something bad will eventually happen.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so to speak.

cincinnati, OH

History Freak

I read up on the shock therapy. It is a hit or miss treatment. It worls for some problems but not others.

Lasers may be a better choice. They can target specific overactive portions of the brain and permanently neutralize them.

Other methods can include targeted radio frequency destruction of brain areas.

It seems to me that we should reinstitute the mental hospitals for long term and permanently mentally ill people.

An interesting correlation between the 1980's to now regarding the increase in mentally ill committing crimes.

I call that a 'patient zero' policy because zero patients can get the proper help they need because of cost cutting.


To protect society for the rest of his life. Mandatory oversight of daily medical treatment/medications must be part of his sentencing. Without this stipulation he could change his mind after release, if he is ever released.
Many mentally ill feel OK and just stop taking their anti-psychotic meds only to end up back in forced treatment at a mental hospital. Those citizens, that I know of, did not commit murder.

Hey It's Me
Salt Lake City, UT

There are plenty of meds to help these people, because talking it out with a mentally ill person doesn't work. There is something short circuited in their head. The problem is how do we or their families make sure they take their meds. You can't force and person to do that. When they first take their meds they feel great and so they think they don't need them anymore. Since he chose to not take them when he knows he needs them, he should be held somewhere for a long time. If I were his wife and family, I would be fearful for when he comes home.

Salt Lake City, UT

If one is deemed sane and commits a crime, they must pay the price. Justice, retaliation, vengeance, retribution? Take your choice. If one is mentally incompetent, society must be protected from their "uncontrolled" behavior. Either way, society is the underlying entity to be considered and protected.

One opinion
west jordan, UT

When people commit horrible crimes like this they should be punished just like anyone else. Yes, I am sorry that they cannot function normally, but why expose others to their criminal acts? Mental illness is used to excuse too many violent crimes. Mental hospitals can be a dangerous place to work and often staff or other non-violent patients are exposed to abuse. There are many kinds of mental illnesses, but the persons with mental illness that hurt other people need to be dealt with differently. There needs to be part of the prisons where they are locked up and confined. I read reports over and over where individuals refuse to take their medications on a regular basis - that should be their right, but when violence is a result, they need to be contained in cells just like anyone else.

Oak Park, IL

Mental illness is a terrible affliction--it attacks the heart and soul of our humanity: our mind; that which makes you, you and me, me. When there's a makfunction, we barely know whatto do, and when the malfunction results in bodly harm, even death to another we are truly at a loss. Do we imprison the offender forever, though not in control of his or her actions? What id medication has controlled the illness? What if the medications are abandoned, as they are likely to be if released? Who, then, protects the public?

We are able to send spacecraft to Saturn to return knowledge of that body and its satellites and rings. We know more of Saturn than of the human mind--truly our final frontier. Let's get on with the exploration of the mind!

Gainesville, TX

The purpose of the justice system is neither revenge or rehabilitation. It is designed to protect the lawful citizens who have every expectation that they are safe and secure from predators. Those who have committed a crime should be in a facility whether it is prison or a hospital until society is reasonably sure the law breaker is no longer a threat. When we closed down the mental health facilities in the 1970's we failed to establish a path for caring for the mentally ill. The prevailing thought among profesionals was that they could be integrated into society when heavily medicated. Mainstreaming is a failure. It is shameful that we don't place the mentally ill in hospitals where they can get the treatment they need. We care more for the rights of the mentally ill than we do for the safety of our families.

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