Mental health expert: Medication is key to Loughner's competency
With the help of findings that suggested Loughner suffers from delusions and paranoid schizophrenia, Judge Larry Burns decided that Loughner cannot assist his attorneys in his defense and therefore is not able to stand trial. Judge Burns ruled that Loughner be sent to a psychiatric facility in Missouri where doctors can try to restore him to competency. The judge will then reevaluate Loughner's mental competency in a hearing set for September 21.
After Wednesday's hearing, many were left wondering what exactly this means for Loughner--and for the case.
Clarke Romans is the executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southern Arizona. Romans told 9 On Your Side that restoring someone's competency to stand trial is basically trying to teach someone the basics of the court system.
"It's a pretty low threshold to get him to the point where he understands the criminal justice system, the role of everyone in that system, and if he understands the nature of the charges against him," Romans said.
When he heard Loughner could have Schizophrenia Romans told KGUN9 News medication will ultimately be the key, which he says Loughner still has a right to refuse--at least during the first few months of treatment. The court could eventually force Loughner to take medications but Romans said that's unlikely within this first four month period.
"If he doesn't take medication, my guess is the probability of his returning to competency in four months is pretty low," Romans said.
Some people are questioning whether justice will ever be served in the shooting that killed six people and wounded 13. Romans had this to say to the community regarding those feelings:
"This is not a case of somebody who's delusional or psychotic getting away with something. This is a sad case where somebody who perhaps could have greatly benefited from treatment somehow in this community didn't get it," Romans said.
The mental health expert also spoke about whether or not he thinks Loughner could be faking his disease. According to Romans, faking insanity is pretty much impossible. The tests Loughner underwent have been proven to be extremely accurate. Even those who administer them have said they have trouble trying to beating the exams.