DALLAS - The man accused of kidnapping a young boy from his bed and murdering him may be deemed incompetent to stand trial.
Police said Darriynn Brown killed 4-year-old Cash Gernon in Southwest Dallas last year. Now, a psychologist and a psychiatrist have found Brown incompetent.
This is the decision Brown's defense team was hoping for. They maintain that their client was in a trance-like state at the time of the murder and suffers from hallucinations.
The prosecution hired their own medical expert who also concluded Brown is incompetent to stand trial.
Inside a Dallas County courtroom Friday, a magistrate declared the capital murder suspect incompetent to stand trial.
"He can finally get the help that he needs so he can assist us in his representation," defense attorney Heath Harris said.
Brown was arrested last May and later indicted for Gernon’s murder.
Investigators said Brown was the man seen on home surveillance video taking Gernon from the bedroom where he was sleeping.
Gernon was in the care of a woman who lived in a home off Saddleridge Drive in Dallas. She knew Brown.
Gernon's body was found the next morning by a jogger eight blocks away from the home on a neighborhood street. Investigators said the boy was stabbed to death.
"Maybe someday we can get to the facts of this case, which we believe are going to show he has a mental defect that potentially led to this tragedy. He may be entitled to an insanity defense," Harris said.
The competency decision was made after the prosecution's own psychiatric expert determined, after conducting a mental evaluation, that Brown was unfit to stand trial. The defense's doctor came to the same conclusion months ago.
"Both reports basically reflect what Mr. Harris and I have been experiencing with our client, Darriynn. He is not competent, and he needs to get treatment," defense attorney Valerie Baston said.
Harris said Brown will likely be transferred to Vernon Psychiatric Hospital once a bed opens up.
"Our society has rules regarding competency," said Robert Sanders, who is a former prosecutor and defense attorney.
Dr. Sanders said it’s possible Brown will never be deemed competent to stand trial. If he is, and the defense does indeed raise an insanity defense, the prosecution will have the burden to prove Brown knew that his actions were wrong.
"In order for that insanity defense to work, he's got to be insane at the time of the act," Sanders explained.
Brown's defense team knows the public wants answers.
"We ask people to be patient in forming their opinions or judgments about this," Baston said.
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