Matthew Alex Kirkham, a schizophrenic man who killed his mother after a therapist discontinued his anti-psychotic medication, needs more treatment before a judge can make any decisions regarding Kirkham's future.
Kirkham, 37, was due for a review hearing earlier this month before 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy but was not transported from the Utah State Hospital because hospital officials had asked for another three months to treat Kirkham.
Kirkham told police he killed his mother, Joann Kirkham, 72, in their Kearns home in 2005 by smashing her head with a rock and forcing her to breathe paint from a bag. Two court-appointed mental health experts said that Kirkham had long-standing and severe mental health problems and was mentally ill when he committed the crime.
The Kearns man, as part of a plea bargain, pleaded guilty but mentally ill to manslaughter, a second-degree felony, and was sentenced to prison, but was first sent to the state mental hospital for treatment.
Before the crime was committed, Kirkham was getting outpatient care and medication for schizophrenia, which apparently was successful. However, a new outpatient therapist doubted the diagnosis of schizophrenia and decided Kirkham instead suffered from borderline personality disorder and substance abuse, which need substantially different types of treatment.
Kirkham's anti-psychotic medication was stopped and his schizophrenia returned to such a degree that it was "simply raging," according to a mental health expert who addressed the court after Kirkham had fought with his mother and killed her.Kirkham's next court date for a review of his mental condition is set for May 12.
E-mail: [email protected]