Unfortunately, mental illness plagues many people in Florida and throughout the country. While some people can find help and manage it, others have a more challenging time. For some, mental illness can lead to extreme emotions and actions that do not necessarily reflect the actual intent of an individual.
An elderly man from Orange County is being held without bail on criminal charges for trying to kill his adult daughter. She suspects he suffers from a psychological problem.
The daughter had lived with her father and his health care worker. When the daughter was home one morning, the father came out of the kitchen and surprised her with a blow to the head with a heavy frying pan. When the father realized that his daughter was still alive, he came after her again. The daughter managed to take the pan away from her father.
He then took out pistol gun and pulled the trigger twice to shoot his daughter. However, the gun failed to fire both times, after which the daughter fought to take the gun away from her father. During this struggle, he tried to load a bullet into the gun’s chamber and remove any blockages that might have prevented it from firing. The daughter also managed to secure the gun and telephone 911 for help. Her father then tried to grab a knife, but she stopped him. When police arrived at the elderly man’s home, they found him with blood on his arms and shins.
The daughter thinks her father may have a mental problem. She said that her father had never been violent in the past. She did point out, however, that the two had a recent argument over her allowing her adult son and his fiancé to sleep together. The father said that was “against his old school principles.”
In cases like this one in which the defendant acted violently for no apparent reason, a psychiatric evaluation may be in order. While incidents like this are disturbing and should be taken seriously, it may be worth asking if a murder charge is the right way to handle this. Going to prison would likely do little to help this man if he does have a mental disorder. Placing him in the care of a psychiatric facility may be a better option. That way he can get the help he needs to manage a mental illness.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Deputies: 92-year-old man tried to kill his daughter,” Desiree Stennett, Sept. 8, 2012
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