NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A judge will soon decide if doctors can give a mentally ill murder suspect more medication so he can stand trial.
Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to allow doctors at a hospital in Butner, North Carolina, to treat Eric Brown’s schizophrenia.
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.
Brown was sent to Butner in February 2018 for a psychiatric evaluation.
Doctor Logan Graddy, chief psychiatrist at the hospital, testified Tuesday that Brown has a severe mental illness.
Graddy says when the suspect got to Butner, he refused to take any medication.
In June 2018, Graddy told the court Brown was attacking officers and staff members. The hospital then got a court order to treat Brown with medication.
Brown now takes an antipsychotic drug.
Graddy says the initial treatment helped relieve Brown’s symptoms, but it didn’t fully restore him to competency so he could stand trial.
“Further treatment would have to be court-ordered,” Graddy said.
Federal prosecutors are asking the judge to allow Graddy to continue treatment to eventually restore Brown to competency.
Graddy came up with several different treatment plans so the court would have options. One would include giving Brown doses of two antipsychotic drugs at the same time.
Doctor George Corvin, who testified for the defense, told the judge the options of giving two medications at one time would not be standard practice and is never done in an involuntary medication situation.
Corvin says he has spent 16 hours with Brown and has seen no change in his delusions.
“Brown believes the federal government is trying to kill him,” Corvin said.
Corvin also believes the double-dosing could have serious side effects.
“These drugs are killers,” Corvin added.
Corvin isn’t sure Brown can be fully returned to competency, but he did say if Brown was willing to take the medication orally, there could be a break-through.
The judge will now consider ordering Brown take medication orally, but there is no indication if Brown will comply.
Graddy told the judge he believed if he is allowed to further treat Brown, he can be returned to competency in about four months.
The judge is expected to rule in the next couple weeks.