Disabled Student Who Stabbed Teacher on Trial

The Tyler Morning Telegraph is reporting that the 16-year-old Tyler special education student who fatally stabbed his teacher in September (referenced in today's story on restraints) has been found competent to stand trial.

The 16-year-old, who was sent to the Texas Youth Commission after he reportedly stabbed his sister with a steak knife, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was released this summer after a year and a half -- a stay that included trips to a mental hospital -- because he wasn't responding to treatment, and because the state isn't permitted incarcerate juveniles with severe brain disorders. 

The boy's defense attorney told a state district judge this week that the boy answers questions with single syllabes and is unable to understand or remember conversations. 

The prosecutor countered that a state psychiatric hospital found the boy "alert and oriented" as recently as May.

In a gripping Dallas Morning News article in October, Lee Hancock reported that the boy had spent his childhood in and out of mental hospitals for schizophrenia and psychosis. The story exposed gaping holes in how the state treats and monitors juveniles who are too mentally ill to be incarcerated -- but too dangerous to be living in the community. 

 

 

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.