DNA evidence has tied a homeless man to the fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old boy. The man, who has no ties to the area, is believed to be a drifter who was just passing through Miami. Police believe that a chance encounter between the drifter and the boy led to the fatal stabbing. Otherwise, the police have no motive for the killing. DNA pulled from the boy’s headphones matched a link in the database to Semmie Lee Williams who had a criminal history. The boy was found stabbed numerous times in the head and face.
The suspect has a YouTube page littered with videos of “gang stalking”. Gang-stalking is a term used by conspiracy theorists who likely have untreated psychosis. They believe that random members of the public know who they are and are whispering mean-spirited things to him. It is likely that the suspect believed the boy was another gang stalker who was attempting to hurt him. Ultimately, this sad tragedy is an indictment of the failures of our mental health system.
Analyzing an insanity defense
It seems unlikely that the defendant will be fit to stand trial, but the standard is so high in these cases that a genuinely psychotic person could face criminal charges. The problem for the prosecution is that the man is so evidently psychotic that it would be impossible for them to argue otherwise. On the other hand, merely being psychotic is not enough to establish legal insanity.
In this case, the man is almost certain to have believed the boy was yet another gang stalker. The boy had no idea what was going on when the suspect approached him and then stabbed him over and over in the face. The suspect likely believed that he was acting in self-defense. Hence why psychotic people should not be mixed into the general public.
Sadly, treatment may help this man with his condition. Whether he is convicted or not, he will be required to take medication to treat his psychosis. This could actually limit the extent of his psychosis and he could eventually realize there is no conspiracy to harm him, and that the people he attacked were not only innocent but real.
Under the law, such an individual may not be legally culpable for a murder, but they don’t get to enjoy the same freedom as everyone else. It’s impossibly rare that an individual would plead insanity at a murder trial only to be released into the general public so that they could do it again. Instead, they are forced into forensic psychiatric wards where individuals who have serious mental illness and violent histories are placed. In other words, their situation is not much better than it would be in prison.
The biggest issue is that there is no sentence for an individual who is accused of legal insanity and murder. The state sometimes requires hospital stays of a set amount of years, but ultimately, the treating psychiatrists have discretion over whether the individual remains locked up or goes free. In some cases, this means dangerous individuals are placed back on the streets. In other cases, it means that stabilized individuals remain in custody for decades.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The Skier Law Firm, P.A. has decades of experience representing defendants in major criminal cases. Call our West Palm Beach criminal attorneys today to discuss your situation in more detail and we can begin preparing your defense today.