Just short of three years ago young Mr. Jerrod Murray was a student at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. He was also bat shit crazy. At least that's what District Judge, John G. Canavan Jr. ruled this past summer.
Back in 2012 Murray paid a fellow student, Generro Sanchez $20 for a ride to a local Wal-Mart. Before they got there, Murray pulled a gun--because, you know, everyone here has one--and forced Sanchez to drive out into the middle of the country where he shot him twice, killing him. According to a story in today's, The Oklahoman written by Nolan Clay, shortly after the murder Jerrod Murray told his roommate over the phone he had reached, Objective A.
Two expert witnesses, one for the defense and one for the prosecution, told Judge Canavan the defendant didn't know right from wrong at the time of the shooting. In July, Canavan decided Murray was innocent by reason of insanity.
A month later, Brother Murray was sent to The Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita where he was expected, by everyone, to be taking some heavy duty meds for a really long time.
Clay reports, a psychologist at the center named Peter Rausch issued a report on September 17th proclaiming that Jerrod Murray has been miraculously cured of his mental illness and is no longer a threat to himself, or the public. In other words he should be set free after a little over a month in the facility.
Rausch's report is quoted by Clay as saying, among other things, "...while he (Murray) voiced some ideas that could be perceived as odd, they were not delusional." Rausch also said that Murray, "...did state that he was a fatalist and that he believes all events are predetermined by God. He also related that he had planned on obtaining advanced degrees in chemistry and physics and that he had ideas for how to develop a new energy source via the space time continuum."
Ah yes, quite rational.
Clay notes not everyone agrees with Rausch. A senior psychiatrist at Vinita, Joseph Errico wrote a report of his own which says he and his team think Murray is, "...presently considered dangerous to the public peace and safety." He also diagnosed the patient as having bipolar mood disorder with psychotic features, or a schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. In Errico's words, "He demonstrates grandiose and paranoid delusions about the world, himself, and other people."
Confronted by the conflicting assessments, Canavan has ordered Murray to be examined by two other experts. All those expert medical conclusions will come to a head at a hearing currently scheduled for November 5th.
The prosecutor in the case, as Clay writes, is outraged. Pottawatomie County District Attorney, Richard Smothermon wants immediate legislative action which would allow a judge, or jury to find a defendant not only as crazy as a bedbug on meth, but guilty at the same time. It is sort of like saying to a defendant, "Yes, we understand you didn't know what you were doing was wrong, but, fuck the medical experts, you're going away for however many years a judge decides."
Hey, when it comes to dealing with a deadly whack job, such a measure sounds like a righteous response to an utterly subjective diagnosis delivered by a psychologist. Unfortunately, the Oklahoma legislature, while more than willing to chuck the insane away for 50 to 75 years, no matter what their condition, isn't nearly as ready to spend the money in order to expand existing mental health facilities, not to mention build new ones.
Indeed, the idea is easy, but paying for the tab is a bit tougher.
In the meantime we wait for what goes down with Jerrod Murray. What we know is he has reached, Objective A, by murdering Generro Sanchez. We also know, because this is America, as soon as he's let out, he'll be able to get his hands on a gun whenever and wherever he wants.
At this point, the only things we don't know are, if there was an Objective A, will there be an Objective B? And--what is it?
One shudders to think.