VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A federal judge ruled Thursday a man charged in the kidnapping and death of Ashanti Billie can be forced to take medication.
Doctors diagnosed Eric Brian Brown with schizophrenia earlier this month, and determined he’s incompetent to stand trial.
Those same doctors said they need to involuntarily medicate Brown because they believe he’s a danger to himself and others. Brown’s attorney said the medication could impact the case.
Authorities charged Brown with kidnapping the 19-year-old from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story last year. Her body was found more than a week and a half later in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It is a conflict for Ashanti’s family. They don’t support the forced medication of Brown, but the judge made it clear. He ruled that way to get Brown to one day become mentally competent to take the stand in his own defense.
“We are grateful that we have the person who did this. We have him,” says Meltony Billie, who is Ashanti’s father. He is happy Brown is in prison, but not happy Brown is deemed schizophrenic and incompetent to stand trial.
10 On Your Side asked him whether forced medication possibly making Brown competent to stand trial could change his mind to support it, “No, not at all,” Billie answered.
Meltony Billie is opposed to Brown’s forcible medication, but Browns’ doctors want that because Brown is deemed a danger to himself and to others.
“We just want to resolve this. This schizophrenia issue. Me, myself, I did my research. I talked with other psychiatrists and they say this is impossible (that he is incompetent to stand trial.)”
Court documents support Brown’s psychosis with graphic examples of bizarre behavior. It is so graphic we can’t even report it. He expresses concerns inmates are trying to killing him, he demanded to be released, he’s stating he’s been kidnapped.
“We feel this is all part of his game,” Billie said. When asked if he thinks Brown is mentally competent to stand trial right now, Billie responded, “Oh, no doubt. No doubt.”
The judge disagreed, and ordered the forcible medication to bring Brown to health so he can eventually one day stand trial, and ruled he is getting proper medical treatment.
This is ultimately a story about a family’s loss and struggle to move on without Ashanti. “She has a little brother, and she has a little sister that constantly remembers her, and don’t forget about the things she did for them,” Billie said.
Ashanti’s family can appeal this decision to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.