Suspect won’t stand trial for brutal stabbing of 4-yr-old, ruled incompetent over ‘trance-like state’ at time

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A Texas judge has ruled that the suspect charged with the ghastly murder of four-year-old Cash Gernon is unfit to stand trial based on the findings of a mental health evaluation by several doctors.

Darriynn Brown, 18, allegedly snatched a sleeping Cash from his crib in his southwest Dallas home and stabbed him to death. A jogger subsequently found the boy’s body about a half-mile from home lying in a pool of blood. At the time, authorities indicated that the boy was stabbed with an “edged weapon.”

“This is the decision Brown’s defense team was hoping for. They maintain that their client was in a trance-like state at the time of the murder and suffers from hallucinations,” Fox Dallas-Forth Worth affiliate KDFW reported. “The prosecution hired their own medical expert who also concluded Brown is incompetent to stand trial.”

In addition to the capital murder charge, which upon a conviction could result in life in prison without parole or the death penalty, Brown was also charged with kidnapping and burglary.

In this tragic incident, surveillance video appeared to show an intruder wearing a hoodie and a backpack taking Cash from his bedroom about 5 a.m. on May 15, 2021.

Cash’s twin brother was also potentially in harm’s way but was not abducted when the suspect allegedly returned to the room about two hours later.

Brown is reportedly due to be transferred to a psychiatric hospital once a bed opens up. He is currently in custody in Dallas County jail.

He could go to trial at some point if he is deemed legally competent, i.e., with the ability to understand the court proceedings and help mount his defense, but it does not appear that this will happen anytime soon.

“He can finally get the help that he needs so he can assist us in his representation,” Brown’s attorney Heath Harris said. “Maybe someday we can get to the facts of this case, which we believe are going to show he has a mental defect that potentially led to this tragedy. He may be entitled to an insanity defense.”

In general, the very technical insanity defense requires a defendant to be unable to distinguish right from wrong when committing a crime. “In order for that insanity defense to work, he’s got to be insane at the time of the act,” a lawyer not involved in the case told KDFW.

The same suspect reportedly faces charges of burglary and injury to an elderly person in a February 2021 incident that allegedly included an attempt to abduct a two-year-old girl. He was also reportedly arrested for a misdemeanor charge of evading arrest on April 27, 2021.

Watch a report from KDFW, Fox 4, on this latest development in the case.

All suspects are presumed innocent until or unless they are convicted in a court of law of any alleged crimes.


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