OKC Man Who Dismembered His Mother Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

After being medicated enough to become competent to stand trial, an Oklahoma City man accused of killing his mother was found not guilty be reason of insanity. Gerald David Hume, 52, was arrested in November 2012 after an 11-hour standoff with police. Officers were sent to the home to check on Hume's mother, 77-year-old Janet Hume, who had not been seen for several days. After police visited the home several times, a tactical team was sent to forcibly enter the home. Inside, they found Gerald Hume, who they described as "visibly unstable." They also found the dismembered body of Janet Hume, who had been shot eleven times before being cut into pieces. Several of her body parts were found in the freezer along with the body of a house cat. The insanity defense does not often work, but in some cases, it is obvious that a person is severely mentally ill and had no ability to distinguish between right and wrong at the time of his or her acts. Although Gerald Hume allegedly had no history of violence, family members describe him as a "known schizophrenic" who heard voices. Cleveland County District Judge Lori Walkley heard testimony from psychiatrists for both the defense and the prosecution. These psychiatric experts agreed that when Hume was off of his medication, he met the legal criteria for insanity. Later this month, Walkley will determine whether or not Hume will be released or if he will be involuntarily institutionalized for further treatment of his mental health issues. Currently, Hume is being held in the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita, Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Forensic Center is the state mental health facility that houses up to 200 patients deemed incompetent to stand trial or who are adjudicated as not guilty by reason of insanity. Hume's case raised questions about how someone who was "known" to have mental health issues was able to purchase the gun used to kill his mother. Hume purchased rifles at a Walmart store and a Glock 9mm handgun at a gun store less than two months before his mother's murder. Although the forms used to purchase a gun ask about a prospective buyer's mental health history, Hume either lied on the application or had never been legally declared incompetent or involuntarily committed for treatment. Determining whether or not someone with mental health issues that can be treated by medication should be released from custody or treatment is a delicate decision. Balancing individual freedoms with public safety can be a complex determination. What are the assurances that a person will continue to take the medication and participate in the treatment that keeps insanity at bay? The case of Daniel St. Hubert, accused of stabbing two children in an elevator just days after he was released on parole, is a recent case that illustrates the dangers of failing to appropriately weigh the combined needs of criminal justice and mental health treatment.

Comments