Gary B. Schmitt, an Effingham man who murdered his father in 2010 and attempted to murder two others in 2011, has been charged with aggravated battery as a result of strangulation at the Springfield mental health center where he was being held, according to Illinois State Police.
Authorities said officials with the Illinois State Police Division of Criminal Investigations responded to the McFarland Mental Health Center to investigate an incident between two patients.
On Friday, Sept. 18, a female patient was located unresponsive in her room, police said. After investigating the incident, Zone 4 agents arrested Schmitt on the aggravated battery as a result of strangulation charge, a Class 1 felony, and he was transported to the Sangamon County Jail.
In October 2019, Effingham County Judge Kimberly Koester denied Schmitt’s request for the conditional release from the McFarland Mental Health Center, where he’s been treated for schizophrenia since 2013. Schmitt was placed in the center after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity in October 2012 for the 2010 murder of his father, Jack Schmitt, and two 2011 attempted murders in Edgewood.
Koester had denied a similar request in 2017.
A psychiatrist, Dr. Kasturi Kripakaran, testified in 2019 that Schmitt was no longer in need of in-patient treatment, making him a good candidate for the release program. But Kripakaran also noted Schmitt could never be cured of his mental illness.
Schmitt in 2012 was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the Jan. 16, 2011, attempted murders in Edgewood. He was also found to be insane when he killed his father, Jack, in 2010 at his father’s Effingham home. While police questioned him about the Edgewood attacks, Schmitt admitted killing his father.
Koester said the court was aware that Schmitt’s mental health history indicates triggers for his mental conditions, including stress and lack of control, especially with taking medications. She said factors outside of Schmitt’s control could trigger his condition if he were not hospitalized.
Koester indicated in her ruling that she had concerns over whether or not the release program considered the seriousness of the potential dangers of releasing Schmitt.
“The court has some concerns with the community release program that was described by Mr. Jolly,” Koester said in her ruling. “Specifically, the court notes that the program seems to not take seriously the potential for danger that this individual possesses. ... a factor that this court finds as controlling is the defendant’s potential to be a danger to himself or to others.”
Additionally, Koester said the court could not conclude that Schmitt has shown he would not benefit from in-patient treatment after only six years of treatment.