About 26.2% of Americans suffer from some form of a mental disorder. Now not all of these people are dangerous, but a select amount have committed crimes that are deemed unthinkable. The mentally ill individuals who perform criminal actions are a danger to society. If severe actions have been taken by them, severe action should be taken against them. Less severe crimes (shoplifting, loitering, or disobeying restraining orders) should require institution to an asylum for treatment. Our current action that we take against the mentally ill with more severe criminal charges is unacceptable. No mercy or plea bargain should be offered, but the death penalty should seriously be considered in cases that involve murder or rape, and especially in cases such as Andrea Yates or Otty Sanchez, who have slaughtered their own children. These people are a danger to society due to their mental illness, and their neglect to treatment put them on a rampage. Not all mentally ill have these kinds of outbursts, such as Steven Burky who was found disobeying a restraining order by stalking Jennifer Garner and her family. His arrest was properly treated once he was institutionalized into a state mental hospital.
Andrea Yates performed a gruesome murder of her five children, all under eight years of age making them defenseless against a hell-driven maniac. According to CBS News, Andrea Yates “drowned 6-month-old Mary, 2-year-old Luke, 3-year-old Paul, 5-year-old John, and 7-year-old Noah,” due to her “post partum psychosis and, in a delusional state, believed Satan was inside her and was trying to save them from Hell.” After this gruesome murder, “Andrea Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity Wednesday in the bathtub drowning of her young children.” Despite this ruthless drowning, this woman will continue to live due to a plea of insanity which apparently shows mercy upon those who showed no sympathy towards five children who will not only be denied a fulfilling life, but who were also denied rightful justice for their deaths. A rightful justice being, legal actions provided against her leading to her death within a prison facility.
Andrea Yates is not alone when taking orders from the devil. Several articles, such as The Root by The Buzz and Saynsumthn, have captured the heinous crime that took place by Otty Sanchez, who “said the devil told her to kill her son and that she was hearing voices” (Buzz). She was in a delusional state with the devil was due to her mental illness, which was not specified. Sanchez “had been in and out of a psychiatric ward” (Buzz), and was “previously prescribed the antidepressant Citalopgram” (Saynsumthn). Sanchez’s illness was too severe for her to be around the public, and in result she, “ate the child’s brain and some other body parts. She also decapitated the infant, tore off his face, and chewed off three of his toes before stabbing herself… in the torso and slicing her own throat” (Buzz). After the murder of her 3 1/2 week old baby, “Sanchez is charged with capital murder in the death of her son” (Saynsumth). After this murder took place, Sanchez confessed by saying, “I killed my baby! I killed my baby!” (Saynsumth). Despite the confession, “34-year-old Otty Sanchez was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the death of baby Scott Wesley Bucholz-Sanchez and prosecutors accepted a plea deal from the woman who claimed that the devil made her kill her child” (Saynsumthn). No person should be allowed this kind of freedom for doing such an act, no matter how ill they are. They are a danger to society and they do not deserve treatment, this action only deserves death.
Not all who suffer from psychological disorders perform dangerous actions. Some just feel compelled to do certain actions, not all violent. Take Steven Burky, a 37-year-old man, for example, “He was arrested for allegedly violating a civil restraining order that prevents him from coming within 100 yards of Jennifer Garner,” which was found in an article, written by Kamika Dunlap, within Find Law. This seems like just a simple episode of stalking, maybe by a crazed fan, but this man really was crazed as written by Dunlap. “Ruling based on reports from two psychiatrists who examined Burky and concluded that he was legally insane.” Burky was then found “not guilty by reason of insanity” and was sent “to a state mental hospital.” Burky performed a crime that harmed no one and his illness was properly treated.
There are some who look past the spilled brains of a newborn or the bodies whose lungs have been filled with water, and feel sympathy for the mentally ill. These men and women say they should be treated, not punished due to the idea that they are unaware of their wrong doings and were driven by a psychological disorder, not their own violent tendencies. CBS News writes, “Mental health experts say that the Yates case has focused long-overdue attention on the issue of post-partum depression and psychosis, both poorly-understood phenomena that they say should be treated, not punished.” And this may be true for some crimes such as Steven Burky’s stalking incident.
Unlike Steven Burky, Andrea Yates and Otty Sanchez both deserve death due to their crimes that resulted from their mental illness. Aware or not, they are a complete danger to society. They are not like your average serial killer with a constant urge and pleasure to deprive life, but if neglected treatment, their illness can turn in a delusional rampage. Yates’ was constantly in and out of her mental illness and had obsessive thoughts about killing her children and she was dangerous enough to follow through on these thoughts. These children who were drowned and, all five of them, did not stand a chance against their own mother, and Yate’s life should not stand a chance against the justice system. Otty Sanchez’s crime was not only morally wrong, but was illegal on so many levels. If tearing off a child’s face, chewing off its toes, and digesting its brains is not enough to land you a place in the electrical chair, then what will?
The mentally ill who perform these heinous crimes shall receive one thing. This is not mercy, but punishment to the fullest extent of the law. These people performed acts beyond the law, and it is the least we can do to punish them within the limits of the law. Both Andrea Yates and Otty Sanchez should qualify for the death penalty. But the death penalty should not be overused nor should it just focus on the mentally ill. Steven Burky is mentally ill but does not deserve death. He received the proper punishment of being institutionalized for treatment. Otty Sanchez and Andrea Yates received the same fate, but it did not match their actions. How you should treat the mentally ill is simple. Every crime should require institution to an asylum and they should not be released until a psychiatrist approves their release. More severe crimes, such as murders, should require the death penalty. This may seem extreme, but a psychological disorder can be triggered again by a single event which cause them to fall back into their delusional rampages.
CBS News. McNamara, Melissa “Andrea Yates Found Not Guilty.”
The Root. The Buzz “Woman Dismembers Infant Son, Eats Bran.”
Saynsumthn. “Not Guilty by reason of Insanity Verdict for Mother who decapitated and ate child’s brain.”
Find Law. Dunlap, Kamika “Accused Celebrity Stalker Found Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity.”