Accused Tampa Palms killer ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial

Devon Arthurs

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Accused killer Devon Arthurs has been ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Arthurs is accused of killing his two roommates in their Tampa Palms apartment. He told Tampa police he had been a neo-nazi and killed his former friends because they did not respect his religion when he converted to Islam.

Arthurs also claimed to police that he saved thousands of lives by killing his roommates because they were planning terrorist attacks against U.S. civilians.

Two mental health professionals have now ruled that Arthurs is not competent to stand trial. He will now be taken to a state mental health lockdown facility to receive treatment that will allow him to proceed.

Florida Governor Rick Scott is asking for changes in the law that would allow law enforcement professionals to take weapons away from people like Arthurs before they can commit acts of violence.

“We gotta make sure people with mental illness or who are threatening others or themselves don’t have access to a gun. Those are things that would have an impact,” said Scott during a short visit to Tampa.

Mental health professionals say they are currently required to report people who they believe capable of committing specific acts of violence, but often the report has little impact.

“So if somebody comes in saying ‘I’m going to attack my school,’ that’s enough of an identification to warrant a report so in that case, mental health professionals are under an obligation to notify law enforcement,” said Dr. Mark Cavitt with Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg. “Then it’s up to law enforcement and I’ve had some cases where patients have come in, I’ve made the call and surprisingly enough the patients have come back, no action taken. If they are at the same risk remains, then I call again.”

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