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updated: 2/27/2013 11:48 AM

Attacker not guilty by reason of insanity

Homeless man stabbed another outside Arlington Hts. library

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  • Michael Todd

      Michael Todd

 
 

Michael Todd, a homeless man charged with attempted murder, doesn't think he's sick.

Cook County Judge Kay Hanlon disagrees. And on Tuesday, after hearing testimony from experts who interviewed Todd and reviewed his extensive psychiatric history, she found the 55-year-old not guilty by reason of insanity in the stabbing of another homeless man outside the Arlington Heights Memorial Library in December 2008.

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Todd, who once proclaimed in court: "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a sociopath," and whose previous appearances had been marked by outbursts and threats to courtroom personnel including a now-retired judge, appeared subdued during the hourlong hearing, He spoke quietly to aides who transported him from the Chester Mental Health Center, the state's maximum security mental health facility, where he has been held since May 2009 after he was found unfit to stand trial.

Todd's next hearing is April 16, at which time Hanlon could order him committed to the Illinois Department of Human Services for up to 30 years.

Todd, whose psychiatric background dates back to 1971 and includes five hospitalizations for mental health issues before his latest admission, attacked the victim because he believed the man used a racial slur against him, authorities said. The man denied using a racial slur.

"He doesn't think he's mentally ill," said Dr. Peter Lourgos, a clinical psychiatrist who testified Todd was legally insane at the time of the stabbing and lacked the ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.

Lourgos, assistant director of forensic clinical services for the Cook County circuit court, testified he has interviewed Todd multiple times since 2009 and reviewed Todd's medical and police reports. That led him to diagnose Todd with schizoaffective disorder, which Lourgos said is characterized by delusions, bipolar condition, paranoia and feelings of persecution, among other ailments.

After Todd refused to take his medication, Chester psychiatrists obtained a court order to medicate him, said Lourgos, who testified Todd has shown "no improvement in symptoms" despite several changes in his medication.

Since his arrival at the facility, Todd has on multiple occasions misinterpreted benign behavior of residents and psychiatrists who he believed had attacked and tried to poison him, said Lourgos, citing a June 2012 report indicating Todd would never be fit to stand trial and recommending he be involuntarily committed. Lourgos concurred, noting that antipsychotic drugs have "failed to stabilize his (Todd's) psychosis." He added, "In each of my evaluations, he exhibited active evidence of mental illness."

To that end, Todd's "significant history of violence" and still active "homicidal ideations" make him subject to involuntary admission, Lourgos said.

Forensic psychologist Eric Neu also evaluated Todd and testified he shared Lourgos' conclusions.

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