PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The jury has delivered a split verdict in the trial of a homeless man accused in a stabbing incident that seriously injured a teen girl inside the Target store in East Liberty in 2013.
Leon Raymond Walls, 44, was facing multiple charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, terroristic threats, possessing the instrument of a violent crime, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest.
After five hours of deliberations, the jury found Walls guilty but mentally ill on all counts involving hostage victim Allison Meadows, from Tennessee. But in the stabbing of Jobe Wright outside the Target store, the jury decided the defendant was not guilty by reason of legal insanity.
The basic difference: legal insanity means he did not know what he was doing was wrong, or didn’t know what he was doing.
Meadows was in Pittsburgh visiting relatives back in 2013 when the attack happened. She now is preparing for college and plans to play softball there.
Her father had mixed emotions about the verdict. He wants the defendant to get psychiatric help.
“I asked that question a while ago to the district attorney. And because even though I’m a father… I was just enraged with what this man did, especially after I saw that video. I’m still a human being. And I see that he does need psychiatric drugs,” said Glen Meadows, Allison’s father. “Do I think he met the standard for the evidence that I heard that he was legally insane? I really don’t. The definition that they gave was mentally ill. Yes, I agree, but yes, I hope he’s in a facility where he can receive psychiatric care.”
So does Michael Turner, who helped his friend, Wright. Turner couldn’t understand the verdict.
KDKA’s Harold Hayes: “So what do you think of the verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. You think guilty but mentally ill should have applied to everything?
“Oh yeah, I really do,” replied Turner. “Something’s wrong with him. This guy needs help.”
Most courthouse observers, though, believe regardless of what institution Walls is sent to, it’s unlikely he will be released any time soon.
The jury, comprised of six men and six women, began deliberating late this morning after closing arguments wrapped up.
Since the defendant claimed an insanity defense, the jury had four options:
- Not guilty
- Not guilty by reason of legal insanity.
- Guilty, but mentally ill.
On Wednesday, prosecutors showed the jury, and then later released to the media, dramatic and graphic video of Walls’ rampage inside the store.
In the video, Walls can be seen attempting to grab, and then holding 16-year-old Allison Meadows, who was in the checkout line when she was attacked with a knife.
Moments later, the video shows Walls being tackled from the side and from behind by several store employees. They subdued the suspect until police arrived on scene.
Meadows was stabbed in the chest and in the arm.
A psychiatrist testified Wednesday that Walls showed symptoms of schizophrenia and paranoia.