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Three-judge panel finds Hartford teen guilty of murder, then acquits him because he was mentally ill

Hartford Courant - 12/6/2018

Dec. 06--A three-judge panel on Thursday found an 18-year-old Hartford man guilty of murder in the stabbing death of his uncle a year ago, but a moment later acquitted him by reason of mental disease or defect.

The judges found that Isaiah Lindsay, then 17, was in the midst of "profound psychosis" when he plunged an eight-inch knife into his great uncle's chest, striking his heart and fatally wounding him.

The judges -- Frank M. D'Addabbo Jr., Omar A. Williams and Elliot N. Solomon -- found the testimony of psychiatrist Dr. Peter Morgan credible. Morgan examined Lindsay about a month after the killing and diagnosed him with schizophrenia, paranoid type.

The judges found that state prosecutor Christopher Pelosi proved that Lindsay intentionally stabbed his uncle, Albert Byrd, 71, and caused his death on Dec. 4, 2017 at 101 Van Block Ave. in Hartford.

But at the time, the judges found, Lindsay was experiencing command auditory hallucinations and voices that were telling him his uncle was poisoning his family and that he had to be killed.

Lindsay's parents testified during the trial that Lindsay was acting irrational the day of the killing, and at one point asked his mother if he was going to be sacrificed.

Morgan testified that Lindsay was likely suffering from schizophrenia since the summer before the killing.

As a result of that testimony, D'Addabbo, speaking for the panel, said the judges found that Lindsay lacked substantial capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct or to control his conduct within the requirements of the law.

D'Addabbo ordered Lindsay committed to the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and that he be evaluated at Whiting Hospital in Middletown.

Lindsay will be back in court Feb. 22 for a commitment hearing. He will likely end up under the control of the state Psychiatric Security Review Board.

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects less than one percent of the U.S. population, according to the American Psychiatric Association. When the disorder is active, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration, and lack of motivation. Most people who have schizophrenia are not violent or dangerous.

With treatment, most symptoms of schizophrenia will greatly improve. There is no cure for the disorder.


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