Just a few days ago, a young Massachusetts woman was attacked while jogging on Boston’s Esplanade. A short while later, a state police officer apprehended a 37-year-old man and took him into custody. There is little doubt in the minds of law enforcement that the defendant committed the attack. However, mental illness may be a factor in the violent crime.

The woman was jogging on the afternoon of June 28. The defendant allegedly approached her with a pair of scissors and used the item to stab her in the head. The defendant also allegedly tackled the jogger and struck her several times. He is facing a list of charges including:

  • Armed assault with intent to kill
  • Assault and battery with a dangerous weapon
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Resisting arrest

The defendant appeared in a hearing on Monday, July 1, during which a court-appointed doctor indicated that he was “experiencing delusions and was having trouble speaking.” The doctor reported that the defendant could not seem to understand what his defense attorney was saying. She went on to say that she believed the man to be “acutely psychotic.” As a result, the court ordered that the defendant undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

To the victims of violent crimes, proper punishment meted out by a court can help bring closure. However, it is critical that all defendants, even those who have committed violent crimes, have a qualified defense attorney on their side. This is especially important when any kind of mental illness is present and defendants need an advocate to help ensure that their rights are protected.