On occasions, we hear of sad cases in which a schizophrenic defendant says voices in his or her head led to a violent act.
Although this is a relatively rare occurrence, many schizophrenics say they experience these inner voices.
Earlier this year, a 72-year-old man from Scottsdale in Arizona claimed voices in his head told him to kill his wife with a hammer. Jozef Miller took medication for his condition but said he continued to experience these symptoms. He is charged with capital murder.
A TV report on 12 News stated Jozef Miller, told investigators his wife was sitting down to a meal when he hit her over the head with a hammer. He changed his clothes and went to a casino without telling anyone what happened.
The news report started Miller then tried take his own life by carbon monoxide poisoning. He said the voices that told him to kill told him to stay alive so he could pray for his wife. Police say Miller showed no remorse. They said he told investigators he did her a favor, although he hoped she was in a better place. Miller called 911 after the alleged killing.
The 12 News report noted Miller admitted attempting to kill his wife last year. Police said he struck her with a blunt object during a massage. He was arrested but later released pending a hearing in Scottsdale City Court, according to documents.
Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder. It affects less than one percent of the U.S. population, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
Symptoms of the disease include hallucinations, problems with focus and thoughts, delusions, and a lack of motivation. Some studies suggest as many as three quarters of schizophrenics will hear voices at some time. The more acute symptoms can be successfully treated.
Without treatment, the consequences of this acute disease for the sufferer and society can be high. A report in Schizophrenia.com noted schizophrenics who don’t receive proper treatment often end up homeless or incarcerated. However, their crimes are usually misdemeanors rather than crimes of violence.
If you or a family member with schizophrenia has been charged with a crime, please contact our Phoenix-based defense lawyer as soon as possible.