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Friday, June 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Inmate Can’t Be Forced |to Take Anti-Psychotics

(CN) - Despite doctors agreeing he is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a Georgia man charged with murder cannot be forced to take anti-psychotics, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Defendant Jesse James Warren, has been charged in connection with the 2010 murder of three people at a Penske Truck Rental in Kennesaw, Ga., and has spent the last two years at hospitals in Millidgeville and DeKalb County.

Warren's trial was postponed in March 2013 after his lawyers filed a special plea that he was incompetent to stand trial. Two doctors later determined he was not mentally competent to stand trial.

In 2014, Cobb Superior Court Judge Mary Staley ruled that Warren should be forced to take anti-psychotic medication. Doctors eventually stopped medicating him due to side effects and his high blood pressure.

Warren, 66, worked as a mechanic at Penske Truck Rental from 2005 to 2009, during which he allegedly exhibited signs of delusions and a serious mental illness. He was sent to a psychiatrist after telling a coworker that their employer was stealing money from him and hacking computers. He was later fired.

On Jan. 12, 2010, Warren allegedly returned to Penske armed with two guns and opened fire. Four employees and a customer were shot.

Killed at the scene were employees Van Springer, 59, Robert Gonzalez, 31, and customer Jaider Felipe Marulanda, 43.

Another Penske employee, Zacharia Werner, was left paralyzed and died three years later. The only victim who survived was Joshua Holbrook.

Court records indicate Warren told police and doctors he was an emperor and that millions of dollars had been stolen from him.

In its 53-page decision, the Georgia Supreme Court stated that Staley's order was not specific enough to warrant involuntary medication and raised questions whether Warren's condition has changed since Staley's 2014 order.

According to the opinion, "If the State elects to pursue its motion for involuntary medication on remand, the trial court should allow the parties to present additional evidence to ensure that the court's findings are based on current circumstances."

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but Warren cannot be tried when he is mentally incompetent.

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