NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A U.S. District judge ruled Eric Brown should not be forcibly medicated until the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decides whether or not he can be treated and forcibly medicated for his competency.

The ruling happened on Christmas Eve after U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson granted the order until the Fourth Circuit of Appeals provides a conclusion or until January 7 when Brown’s time for filing an appeal expires.

This follows after federal prosecutors asked the judge to allow doctors at a hospital in Butner, North Carolina, to treat Eric Brown’s schizophrenia earlier this month.

Brown is accused of abducting 19-year-old Ashanti Billie from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Norfolk in September 2017. Her body was found in Charlotte, North Carolina a week and a half later.

For more than two years, the Billie family has waited for justice.

Since his arrest, Brown has been in a mental hospital. He was diagnosed with having schizophrenia but refused to take medication.

In June of 2018, doctors got a court order to forcible medicate him after he attacked several staff members. Doctors say the drugs are working,but not enough to restore him to competency to stand trial.

Defense attorney Andy Protogyrou can understand why Brown’s attorneys would want forcing medication on their client to be stopped.

“I don’t [know] if we ever really know if the individual understands what is going on anyhow at that point. One doctor can tell you he does, and I can guarantee another doctor can tell you he doesn’t,” Protogyrou said.

There is no word when the case will be heard.

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