Police received a call one night indicating that a woman was being stabbed in front of a WalMart. The victim was a 22-year-old woman who was getting married within a short period of time. She didn’t know her attacker; in fact, she had never seen him before. When her parents arrived at the hospital, all they knew was that their daughter was covered by a white sheet that was soaked in blood. At that point they had no idea whether she was going to live or die.
The perpetrator was a troubled young man who was well known to the police officers in charge of the community. That was because he was often found behaving in a bizarre manner in public places. He was usually in a delusional or distorted state, but never in a violent manner.
When Police arrived at the scene, the attacker was still there. He had made no attempt to run away or hide his identity. When the officers approached him, he seemed to be in some sort of trance.
After the court hearing, he was charged with being not criminally responsible and was sent to a forensic psychiatry facility called the Brockville Mental Health Centre where every single patient has been involved in some sort of violent act.
Dr. A.G Ahmed, Associate Chief of Psychiatry and Forensics, stated that Shaun Clifton was one of the most ill patients he had seen in his entire career. What made his case unique was his dual diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Schizophrenia.
Antipsychotics are used to treat the agitation, the delusions, and the disconnection from reality. This type of medication usually brings about a dramatic change in the individual.
When he first arrived, Clifton’s demeanor was flat, almost robotic, like a stone mannequin. He was so preoccupied with what was going on inside his mind that he refused to participate in the real world.
The nurses and social workers all agree that he had one of the worst cases of OCD. He had several rituals that he performed dutifully. One was that at mealtimes he would have to adjust his tray repeatedly. He was unable to leave the dining area until that ritual had been completed.
The purpose of the ritual is to keep something bad from happening or to avoid loved ones coming to harm. Clifton says he was afraid of getting sick or some kind of disaster happening to his family.
From the start he was fed up and tired of all the rituals, but eventually he started trying to be bold and eventually controlled his need to participate in them. Clifton worked very hard on himself and made amazing strides towards his own mental health until finally one day he was released.
Is it fair that a person who attempted to murder somebody in cold blood be given a second chance just because he or she was found to be not criminally responsible?