A Virginia man facing hate crime charges for attacking a Black woman has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
According to the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Matthew R. Ellis was accused of attacking the victim last year after he pulled up to her car at a traffic light and yelled obscenities through his car window. He then followed and rear-ended her car, before pulling the victim out of her car by the ankles and threatening to kill her.
The newspaper also noted that it took multiple men to stop him from attacking her further.
It’s important to point out that when being questioned by the police, Ellis called the victim a slew of racial slurs. He was also crystal clear: The only reason he wanted to kill her was because she was African-American.
Ellis was initially charged with a hate-crime assault of the woman, two counts of assaulting a law-enforcement officer, statutory burglary and reckless driving. But a judge believed he was too crazy for prison.
Judge Lynn S. Brice of Chesterfield County Circuit Court said that after reviewing reports from two mental health professionals — including one for the prosecution — he concluded that Ellis was insane at the time of the May 3 incident in Chester.
“The evidence supporting the insanity defense was overwhelming in my view,” said Todd Ritter, Ellis’ attorney.“The reports indicated that Mr. Ellis was suffering from bipolar disorder, and this was a manic episode with psychotic features.”He added: “I was pleased by the outcome and glad to see that Mr. Ellis will now be getting the help he needs. In fact, there was intervention early on (after the arrest) so my client has been on proper medication for some time, and he is not remotely the same agitated and paranoid person I met shortly after his arrest.”
According to the judge’s order, Ellis was committed to the Central State Hospital under the watchful eye of the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. From there, mental health officials will determine whether Ellis will remain under their care or be released.
A hearing for his potential release will be held at the end of next month.
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