The man charged with kidnapping and viciously killing four-year-old Cash Gernon last year was found incompetent to stand trail, a decision the alleged killer’s defense team was reportedly “hoping for.”
Defense lawyers say Darriynn Ronnell Brown “was in a trance-like state at the time of the murder and suffers from hallucinations,” Fox 4 New reported Friday. “The prosecution hired their own medical expert who also concluded Brown is incompetent to stand trial.”
It’s possible Brown will never be ruled competent to stand trial for the heinous crime, former prosecutor and defense attorney Robert Sanders said. And if the accused ever does stand trial, it’s likely an insanity defense will be raised, meaning prosecutors will have the burden of proving Brown knew what he was doing was wrong.
Once a spot opens up, it’s expected Brown will be transferred to Vernon Psychiatric Hospital.
“He can finally get the help that he needs so he can assist us in his representation,” defense attorney Heath Harris said.
Brown was arrested and charged with kidnapping and burglary last year after he allegedly snatched the sleeping four-year-old from his crib and brutally beat him to death, leaving his lifeless, bloodied body in a street where it was found by a local jogger, court documents and video surveillance reportedly show.
Harris, an attorney for Brown, “said he was frustrated by how slowly authorities were moving but hoped the new charge would mean he’d be able to request an examining trial and get access to evidence,” The Dallas Morning News reported. “At an examining trial, a judge would determine whether there is enough evidence for a case to go before a grand jury.”
“It’s almost a month after this tragedy, and I’m still waiting to prepare this kid’s defense. We can’t do that till we have all the evidence,” Harris said, noting that he’s waiting for his client’s mental health to be evaluated.
Disturbing night vision footage exclusively obtained by the Daily Mail seemed to show the terrifying moments before Cash was taken from his crib. The footage also showed the man, allegedly Brown, apparently coming back for Cash’s twin brother, Carter, hours later:
“The night-vision footage shows Brown – dressed in a hoodie and wearing a backpack — creeping around and hoovering near the child’s bed while he slept. As Brown lifted Gernon’s blanket – the child appears to awaken – as Brown whisks him out of the room,” Fox News reported.
According to The Daily Mail, the footage also shows the alleged killer “hovering menacingly over Carter Gernon as he slept in the crib he shared with his twin brother Cash around 7 a.m.,” adding, “But Brown appears to get spooked by a sound in the house and flees, leaving Carter asleep.”
Brown was arrested on April 27 on a misdemeanor charge of evading arrest in a case that’s still pending. According to court documents for that charge, he lives with his parents a half-mile from where the boy’s body was found. Neighbors have said Brown was known to walk in the area.
“Brown is also accused of walking into a Dallas home on Feb. 8 and grabbing a young child. Police said he broke in and rummaged around, then punched the homeowner after being confronted,” The Dallas Morning News noted. “He picked up the man’s 2-year-old granddaughter, but the man was able to get the girl back from him, according to an affidavit. The homeowner didn’t want to press charges at the time and told police that Brown had apologized to him later.”