Technicality frees mentally retarded man who killed neighbor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A mentally retarded man who stabbed and killed his neighbor has been released from jail after a technicality kept the Nashville man from being committed to a mental institution.

Experts who evaluated John Henry Roberts said he could not comprehend that it was wrong when he stabbed 50-year-old David Appleby four times on their apartment elevator -- an act that was caught by a surveillance camera.

On Thursday, Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier ruled that because of Roberts' mentally disability, he couldn't be kept in jail.

But he couldn't be committed to a mental institution either because, to do that, the state needs proof the 56-year-old was mentally retarded before he turned 18 and no one can find his school records.

Appleby's brother Eddie Appleby told Nashville paper The Tennessean Roberts' release "does not make any sense."


Information from: The Tennessean,

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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