- Associated Press - Thursday, August 13, 2015

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A homeless man convicted in a stabbing rampage at a Target store faces 10 to 20 years in prison.

Leon Walls, 44, was sentenced Thursday after jurors found him guilty of aggravated assault but mentally ill in the stabbing of a man outside the store in March 2013. The jurors found him not guilty by reason of insanity on an attempted-homicide charge.

Walls also was found guilty but mentally ill in the stabbing of a 16-year-old girl inside the store and the slashings of other people who intervened.

He apologized to the victims and the court.

“It’s been really frustrating. I try to stop it,” he said. “I pray to God, ‘Just take it away.’ It just got worse.”

Common Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel told Michael Turner, who followed Wells inside the store and aided the girl, that he acted heroically and that she believes the girl would have died had he not intervened.

Walls was diagnosed with schizophrenia following his arrest. His defense attorney, Andrew Capone, asked the judge not to impose the mandatory minimum sentence, calling it “cruel and unusual” to send someone with a mental illness to prison.

The judge said she lacks the authority to send Walls to a mental hospital after sentencing.

“I believe you were mentally ill on the day this occurred,” she said. “Unfortunately, it’s very difficult for me to find some place appropriate for you to go. They’ve just taken away so many resources.

“We have run up against a wall. There is no such place.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide