Florida Multi-Homicide Suspect Pre-Diagnosed With Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Employers Knew About Prior Violent Conduct

Lawrence Nathaniel Jones, an employee of Valley Protein, pulled a gun and shot four co-workers, killing two, authorities said. Two others were wounded. Police have not released a possible motive for the violence. Two of the victims had worked at the plant for less than a week. Another had worked there since June.

A Fresno County mental health evaluation in 2004 diagnosed Jones with intermittent explosive disorder, drug-induced psychotic disorder, and dependence on multiple substances including amphetamine, marijuana and alcohol. Jones’ boss and co-workers were puzzled about what set off the ex-convict who had been in and out of prison since 1991 for crimes ranging from armed robbery to car theft – a record his managers were allegedly aware of.

Intermittent explosive disorder (IED) is a condition marked by sudden aggression that appears out of proportion to any external stress, often leading to the point of violence, that is inconsistent with the situation at hand. Impulsive aggression is unpremeditated, and is defined by a disproportionate reaction to any provocation, real or perceived. Some individuals have reported affective changes prior to an outburst Jones was seen many times by jail psychiatric services staff, who described him as mentally unstable, the Fresno Bee reported.

The symptoms for IED include:

– the occurrence of discrete episodes of failure to resist aggressive impulses resulting in destruction of property or violent assault,
– the degree of aggressiveness expressed during an episode is grossly disproportionate to provocation or precipitating psychosocial stressor, and
– diagnosis is made when other mental disorders that may cause violent outbursts (e.g., oppositional defiant disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, etc.) have been ruled out as the cause.

The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, also known as the “Baker Act”, is a Florida statute allowing for involuntary examination of an individual.

The Baker Act allows for involuntary examination (what some call involuntary commitment). This examination can be initiated by judges, law enforcement officials, physicians, or mental health professionals. There must be evidence that the person:

– has a mental illness (as defined in the Baker Act).
– is a harm to self, harm to others, or is self-neglectful (as defined in the Baker Act).

Examinations may last up to 72 hours after a person is deemed medically stable. There are many possible outcomes following examination of the patient. This includes the release of the individual to the community (or other community placement or control), a petition for involuntary inpatient placement (also known as civil commitment), involuntary outpatient placement (also known as assisted treatment orders), or voluntary treatment (if the person is competent to consent to voluntary treatment and consents to that treatment).

Many times, people go through with actions that they would not normally ever think of doing because of altered states of mental acuity. When this happens, things said, acts done, and effects rendered can leave the accused what seems like a very rough position with no way out. However, if one obtains an experienced Jacksonville felony violent crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case, one can ensure one’s rights will be known and protected and that one will be able to receive the treatment one needs to improve one’s life in the future.

The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.

Additional Sources: Evaluation: Calif. plant shooting suspect unstable, Gosia Wozniacka, WFLX.com

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