Help Sought Before Baseball-Bat Murders
The bludgeoning deaths of a Tavares woman, her brother and mother by a man with schizophrenia is renewing criticism of how the state handles the mentally ill in crisis, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
James Earl Jones, 32, is suspected of killing his girlfriend and her family members with a baseball bat before taking his own life on Monday. The Sentinel reports that in the week before the slayings, Jones’ parents twice tried to have him admitted at a psychiatric hospital, but he only was given medications for bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Jones’ family told the Sentinel the tragedy could have been avoided, especially since Jones was willing to be treated. Lifestream Behavioral Center official Rick Hankey says the hospital treats everyone who comes to the hospital, and about 90 percent of the beds where Jones sought help are occupied, the Sentinel reports.
Advocates from the Florida Coalition for Community Mental Health and the University of Florida say the state lacks enough funding to adequately provide the treatment needed to avert these tragedies, the Sentinel reports.