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Mother Of Murdered ECU Student Fears Son's Killer Could Be Released

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The family of a murder victim is concerned over whether a judge will be forced to release a murder suspect found not guilty by reason of insanity. The family of a murder victim is concerned over whether a judge will be forced to release a murder suspect found not guilty by reason of insanity.
POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Oklahoma -

The family of a murder victim is concerned over whether a judge will be forced to release a murder suspect found not guilty by reason of insanity. And so is the District Attorney in that county.

In July, Jerrod Murray, then 20, was committed to a secure state run mental health hospital in Vinita.

Murray is the East Central University student who confessed to killing a fellow student - so he could “feel what it was like to kill someone”. But now one psychiatrist’s report states he's no longer dangerous or mentally ill.

This week, a judge in Pottawatomie County received two conflicting reports from psychologists at the Oklahoma Forensic Center. Both gave their opinions as to whether they thought Jerrod Murray has mental illness and could pose a danger to society.

“This is ridiculous,” said Jeana West, whose son was murdered by Murray. “No one should be able to walk away from committing murder.”

West still can't believe the man who confessed to killing her son was found not guilty by reason of insanity and wished the case could have gone to trial.

7/17/15 Related Story: ECU Student Found Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity For Killing Classmate

“He clearly, clearly is intelligent enough to plan everything out,” said West about the December 6, 2012 murder. “To go to a doctor, have a doctor's note the day before he committed the murder as well as write out his last will and testament? He premeditated everything! Down from where he stole the gun and the ammunition - to where he was going to commit the crime.”

She still grieves for what her son went through that terrible night.

Court papers state Murray asked Sanchez to give him a ride to Walmart for $20 and Sanchez agreed. Once in the truck, Murray pulled out a stolen handgun and forced the victim to drive into the country and then shot him multiple times.

According to the affidavits, Murray told his roommate the night of Sanchez's killing that he had "reached or accomplished Objective A. Murray also told police Sanchez was begging him not to kill him.

“He was tortured for the miles from Ada to Asher begging for his life,” said West. “And Jerrod would pop out a bullet and hand it to him knowing the entire time he had a clip that was fully loaded.”

Murray was committed to the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita. And that's where West wants him to stay. Although she says she’d rather see him in prison.

“Yes that's where he needs to be,” said West. “I mean if they're going to say that he's insane, and he's ill, then he needs to stay there.”

But in a psychologist review report by forensic psychiatrist Dr. Peter Rausch dated September 17, it states in part "While Mr. Murray's history suggests he has a mental illness... he does not presently exhibit any substantial signs of mental illness and given that his mental condition is stable he is not considered to be a present danger to the public.”

But another report dated September 14, by senior staff Psychiatrist Joseph Errico, states Murray is considered dangerous to the public peace and safety and should remain at the Oklahoma Forensic Center for treatment.

“It ought to be up to the jury, it ought to be up to the courts, it ought to be up to justice to insure he doesn't get back out again,” said Richard Smothermon, District Attorney for Pottawatomie County where the murder occurred.

Smothermon says he has already approached his local legislator to write a bill to change the law so they could find someone guilty but insane.

West has started both a written and online petition to do the same and has already collected more than 1,000 signatures.

“The law needs to be changed,” said West. “We need to abolish the not guilty by reason of insanity.”

The judge has requested two more psychiatrist reviews. That hearing is scheduled for November 5.

Criteria Of Reason of Insanity: http:ftpcontent.worldnow.com/griffin/NEWS9/PDF/1212/NGRI.pdf

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