Mentally Ill Man Released from Prison After Awaiting Trial Seven Years

A Philadelphia man who fatally shot his sister-in-law in April of 2007 had been awaiting trial for seven years before he was transferred today to a state-run nursing home. According to Philly.com, various assessments showed that Marvae Dunn, 64, was not aware enough to stand trial.

Neighbors of Dunn's claimed that he exhibited signs of mental illness long before the murder.

Via Philly.com:

"He was scary," said Harriett Freeman, a neighbor who said she knew Dunn and his family well. "He stayed in the house. He had a lot of problems."

Six weeks after the murder, Dunn suffered a massive stroke and was no longer able to walk unaided. Additionally, Dunn has HIV, diabetes, and is in need of kidney dialysis.

Ann Schwartzman, executive director of the Pennsylvania Prison Society, said she was "amazed [the transfer] took this long, but not surprised."

Phyliss Taylor, a rabbi who has worked as a prison advocate, told Philly.com that she hopes Pennsylvania revamps its criminal justice system to better help people suffering from poor physical and mental health. "We need a better system, and it's broken," she said.

According to a recent report by the Treatment Advocacy Center, U.S. prisons and jails are home to ten times as many people with mental illnesses than state psychiatric wards.

[Image via Philly.com]