NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A U.S. Navy veteran accused in the abduction and death of a Virginia Beach woman has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is incompetent to stand trial, according to court documents.
Eric Brian Brown is charged in the death of Ashanti Billie. The 19-year-old was abducted from her work on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in September. Her body was found in Charlotte, North Carolina, 11 days later. An autopsy shows she died of undetermined trauma.
In December, federal authorities evaluated Brown’s mental health. The findings of that report remain sealed; however, in a public motion Brown’s attorney Andrew Grindrod wrote that the veteran is being held in a “lockdown unit.”
Grindrod also wrote that Brown has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and is currently not competent to stand trial.
Now, Brown’s doctors say they need to involuntarily medicate him because he’s a danger to himself and others.
The decision to give him psychiatric drugs comes after the veteran allegedly swung one of his restraint chains at a guard who was trying to “gain control of a situation” within Brown’s cell.
But Grindrod says that medication could impact Brown’s case.
“People subjected to the sort of antipsychotic drugs at issue here ‘immediately face a risk of serious and potentially irreversible side effects,'” Grindrod wrote in a public court motion.
Brown’s defense attorneys are scheduled to appear in federal court on Thursday to argue why forcible medication isn’t appropriate in Brown’s case.
Billie’s family released this statement Monday night:
“Although this development is disappointing, we are confident that all parties responsible for Ashanti’s death will be held accountable.”