It's not a story that you hear every day or much less a reason for committing a crime(s). In fact, it may sound more like an excuse for Jeffrey Turcotte and his crime spree. This past March, Turcotte spent 24 hours kidnapping, carjacking and robbing victims in Fort Lauderdale. Most were left, according to the article, terrorized.  

Sounds like nothing more than heinous criminal activity, right? But wait, there's more. His family says that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and they have been seeking treatment for him for years. However, he was off his medication at the time when he committed these crimes.  He now faces a minimum 25 years in prison on all counts and due to be sentenced in the near future.

Here is an interesting caveat - there may be some truth to the claims of mental illness. According to the same article, he was put on a different type of medication in 2012. He apparently became stable, made honor roll at the private school he was attending and even was elected student body President. After he moved out of his Mother’s home, things deteriorated for him when he started back on street drugs. That made matters worse. At this point, his defense team is asking that he be placed in a prison with a medical facility so that he can finally receive the necessary help.

Any way you look at this it is a tragic story. If he is, indeed, mentally ill, this presents a new set of issues. It doesn’t change the fact that he must be held accountable but at the same time, he should be treated properly for his mental illness. One thing is for sure, it is time to start addressing the mental illness challenges in our country.

There have been times over last two decades that mentally ill people were released to the streets without a place to go or the proper medication to help manage their disorders. One study on mental illness that was done several years ago estimated that over 250,000 of the homeless population across the US suffered some form of debilitating mental illness. Those are some high numbers. Some of these same people are veterans who served this country honorably but now due to a traumatic brain injury are also considered in these same numbers.  

Unfortunately, this problem isn’t going away any time soon. For our part, we will continue to be advocates for those who can’t help themselves. Everyone needs somebody on their side that will walk with them through the valley.

If you have questions about a case or want further information call us at 844-847-8300 or visit us at www.therussofirm.com

 

 

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