COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of stabbing four people at a downtown building last year in an attack that sent dozens scrambling for safety and ended when a police officer shot the suspect was found not guilty Monday by reason of insanity.
Defendant John Mallett also was ordered sent to a Columbus forensic psychiatric facility under the ruling by Franklin County Judge Kimberly Cocroft.
The March 2012 attacks appeared to be a random assault on people inside and outside a downtown Columbus trade school.
According to an aunt whom Mallett had moved in with after arriving in Columbus, Mallett was frustrated that his plans to move into his own place were delayed because an apartment wasn't ready.
Messages were left with Mallett's public defender Monday seeking comment. Mallett had previously pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to five counts of attempted murder and five counts of felonious assault.
Mallett, 39, was armed with three knives when he entered a building that houses Miami-Jacobs Career College and other offices and stabbed four men, the first a college employee, police said at the time. Other people intervened and took away a knife Mallett was using but they didn't realize he had more, police said. A Columbus police officer responding to reports of the attack shot Mallett several times.
The Monday verdict was not unexpected. Previous court filings had raised the issue of Mallett's mental health. One such filing, by an attorney representing one of the victims, alleged Mallett was in and out of mental health facilities and jails until Jan. 6, 2012, when he was placed on a Greyhound bus and sent to Columbus from Tennessee.
Mallett suffered from severe mental illness including schizophrenia and was prone to "violent assaultive outbursts" when living in Tennessee before coming to Columbus in January 2012, according to that January filing by a lawyer for victim Jeffrey Maloon.
Maloon's attorney had sought copies of Mallett's health records to determine whether mental health providers in Ohio or Tennessee could be sued over their treatment of Mallett. Cocroft denied the request.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus.