- Associated Press - Thursday, October 20, 2016

GREENSBURG, Kan. (AP) - A mentally ill Kansas man has pleaded no contest to killing another patient three days after he was discharged from a state psychiatric hospital in a case that prompted a state inquiry.

Brandon Brown, of Haviland, is awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest Tuesday in Kiowa County to second-degree murder. Prosecutors said he beat Jerry Martinez so severely in May 2015 at a residential care facility that the 61-year-old died a few weeks later.

Brown had spent a week at the state-run psychiatric hospital in Osawatomie after he scuffled with two other residents at the Haviland Care Center near Wichita. The fatal beating happened after he was discharged from Osawatomie into the care of the Haviland facility.

Brown’s father, James Brown, has argued that state budget problems prompted Osawatomie to release his son too quickly, according to the Kansas City Star.

The state launched an inquiry last year into Brown’s case. Angela de Rocha, a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which operates Osawatomie, told The Associated Press that the report has not been made public, but added that all appropriate discharge planning was done for the patient. She said some of the report is protected by federal privacy law.

“None of the parties involved in his care had any reason to believe this was going to happen,” de Rocha said.

Several months after the attack, Osawatomie, one of two psychiatric treatment facilities in the state, lost federal funding. The move, which has cost the state millions, came after a patient was charged with raping a staff member. Inspectors said the hospital had out-of-date facilities and was understaffed, which put workers and patients at risk.

After making facility and staffing improvements, the state is waiting for federal inspectors to conduct a recertification.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that Brown pleaded no contest, instead of guilty.

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