Little Axe arsonist could go to mental health court
Norman Transcript - 2/22/2017
Feb. 22--NORMAN -- The man accused of setting five fires last year, including the fire that destroyed the Little Axe Field House, could be bound for mental health court.
Danyl Michael Paul Graumann, 18, was supposed to appear for a preliminary hearing last Friday, but by agreement of the parties involved, the hearing was stricken and he is now being considered for the Cleveland County mental health diversion court program.
Graumann confessed to setting a locker in the field house on fire, and he also admitted to setting four additional fires.
Cleveland County Special Judge Jequita Napoli serves as the presiding mental health court judge, and has since its inception in 2006.
"It is so often that people who are involved in the criminal justice system may have mental health issues," Napoli said. "If the mental health isn't stabilized and resolved, then the concern is that there will be future occurrences of criminal acts. The goal in any court decision is to resolve the issue and try to minimize the potential future problems in the community."
Napoli said the program has had success.
"The expectation of the program is a better outcome for the future and substantially lower recidivism in criminal activity," she said. "I believe the program is doing that and will continue to do that."
Napoli and Oklahoma Court Services Senior Probation Supervisor Brooke Loomis said the mental health court program is similar to the drug court program.
"If we can address the mental illnesses, then the other things can be addressed," Loomis said.
Napoli said to be considered for mental health court, a referral for evaluation has to be made. Interviews follow and, if approved by the state, the accused can plead into the program.
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