(Stillwater, Okla.) — A Stillwater man with a history of mental illness avoided a jury trial this week by pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the death of a resident at Sequoyah Group Homes where they were living with others on Jan. 4, 2017.
Justin Taylor Bean, 24, who does not have a plea agreement with the prosecution regarding his penalty for causing the death of Terry Brown at their residence, remains jailed without bail pending his sentencing on Oct. 26 by Payne County District Judge Phillip Corley.
Bean was arrested shortly before midnight on Jan. 4, 2017, Stillwater Police Detective Inspector Greg Miller wrote in an affidavit.
Bean went into Brown’s bedroom about 7:45 p.m. that night, yelled at him and punched him as a female resident tried to interview, the affidavit alleged.
Bean shoved the woman into the wall and she called to another resident to go to a neighboring building for help, the affidavit alleged.
Bean attacked Brown again – by putting him in a “choke hold” from behind, the affidavit alleged.
Bean put his right arm around Brown’s neck, the affidavit alleged.
Bean’s forearm and bicep were around Brown’s throat, the affidavit alleged.
Bean “locked his right arm to his left arm to affect more pressure in the ‘choke hold,’” the affidavit alleged.
Bean maintained the “choke hold,” until Brown stopped moving, the affidavit alleged.
Stillwater police and fire departments, along with Life Net ambulance, were called to the residence, the affidavit said.
Brown was unresponsive and transported to the Stillwater Medical Center emergency room where he could not be revived and was pronounced dead that night, the affidavit said.
Bean, whose mental competency was raised by his court-appointed attorney Virginia Banks, was examined at the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita by forensic psychologist Peter Rausch, court records show.
Based on the psychologist’s report, Special District Judge Katherine Thomas found that Bean was mentally competent to stand trial, court records show.
Bean told the psychologist that “he lived back and forth between his mother’s home and with various foster parents,” the report said.
Bean said he had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder as a child, a seizure disorder and the mental illness, bipolar disorder, the report said.
“He related that prior to his arrest he had been residing in a group home for individuals with disabilities and he had a job ‘shredding paper’ which paid $7.50 per hour,” the report said.
“Mr. Bean referenced being represented by Ms. Banks. He indicated that he has met with his counsel and he conveyed a favorable opinion of her,” the report said.
“Mr. Bean does reportedly have a major mental illness, which is reportedly being treated with psychotropic medications. While he reported that he has been experiencing some symptoms (depression and auditory hallucinations), these symptoms do not appear to be significantly impairing his functioning to the extent that he meets the statutory definition as a person requiring treatment,” the report said.
“Mr. Bean reported having thoughts in the past of suicide and to have made several attempts in the past. However, he denied any current thoughts of harming himself. He denied any thoughts of wanting to harm others,” according to the report filed in court records on April 24, 2017.
“He reported having received special education services during his schooling and he is estimated to be of borderline intelligence (between low-average and intellectually disabled.) Mr. Bean also reported having been diagnosed with the mental illness, bipolar disorder, and he reportedly is currently prescribed psychotropic medications.
“While he endorsed some recent symptoms of depression (depressed mood and insomnia) as well as auditory hallucinations, he did not exhibit any substantial difficulty communicating in a rational and goal-directed manner…He has an appreciation of the nature of his charge and he has sufficient capacity to rationally assist counsel,” the report said.
According to an amended charge filed in the alternative by District Attorney Laura Austin Thomas on Sept. 6 when Bean pleaded guilty, Bean caused the death by choking Brown or in the commission of the felony of aggravated assault and battery against an infirm person, court records show.
Murder in the second-degree carries a penalty of 10 years to life in prison on conviction, court records show.