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The Good, The Bad & The Mad

What happens to the mentally ill in the justice system is just crazy.

The long delays in the case had filled her with doubts and fears about its outcome. But now she could stand in the courtroom, look at her daughter's murderer and say something utterly unexpected. "I can say I forgive him for what he did," she said. "I hope and I pray for him that he finds what he is so desperately searching for."

Espinoza seemed stunned. "I stand here more confused than ever," he said. "So be it. I do apologize from the bottom of my heart."

But Judge Spear told him that he found the apology hollow. He had not seen any remorse in Espinoza for what he had done "except as it has affected you personally." Then he handed down the required sentence of life without parole and left the courtroom.

Thomas Espinoza complained of voices telling him to hurt people; he blames his mental problems on the fire he was in as a child.
Thomas Espinoza complained of voices telling him to hurt people; he blames his mental problems on the fire he was in as a child.
NAMI Colorado executive director Lacey Berumen wants state lawmakers to fix a breakdown in services to the mentally ill.
mark manger
NAMI Colorado executive director Lacey Berumen wants state lawmakers to fix a breakdown in services to the mentally ill.

A half-dozen deputies surrounded Espinoza. Whatever had gone through his mind four years ago as he beat his neighbor to death, the act had been followed by a blinding moment of clarity. As he told the officer who arrested him, he was going away for a long time.

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