Not guilty by reason of insanity: explained following George Bradley verdict

Updated: Mar. 6, 2020 at 7:25 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - George Bradley, the man charged in the murder of his mother, who died after being set on fire, was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Assistant District Attorney, Ashley Davis, said insanity is an affirmative defense raised by the defense attorney at trial. The defense argued that Bradley was found to have mental illness that effected his judgement.

ADA Davis said she could not speak on the details of a specific case, but she explained the concept and usage of an insanity defense, when attorneys show a defendant cannot be held responsible because of an episodic or persistent mental illness.

“And that mental illness was to such a degree that they didn’t know right from wrong when the offense was occurring,” Davis said.

Davis said reason for insanity varies from case to case, but is determined by a series of tests done by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

“First a person has to be found competent to stand trial, and once they are found competent to stand trial, then the doctor will evaluate them and their mental state at the time of the offense,” Davis said.

Davis said it is not a common verdict in Lubbock County, but she has seen it before.

She said when someone is found not guilty by reason of insanity, there is specific protocol the court must follow.

“If a person is found not guilty by reason of insanity, the code of criminal procedure is very specific, that we are to direct them to mental health services that are appropriate for their mental illness and the level of offense,” Davis said.

Davis assures an insanity plea is not a “get out of jail free” card.

She said he or she is sent to a secure mental health institution, where the department of health and human services and the state hospital system takes over.

“When someone is found not guilty by reason of insanity, certain procedures are put in place to ensure the well-being of not only that person, but also the safety of the community,” Davis said.

Bradley is currently in the Lubbock County Detention Center, but will be moved to a maximum security facility within the state hospital system.

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