Mother of suspect says he takes 4 drugs a day to control explosive moods and seizures
The Brooklyn 16-year-old accused of putting a classmate at death’s door by stabbing his head with scissors at school was supposed to see a shrink the day of the attack, his distraught mom said. Chevoy Nelson missed his appointment because he was under arrest for repeatedly plunging scissors into the head and neck of 15-year-old Alfredo Allen during a basketball game Tuesday in the gym at Erasmus Hall High School. Mom Dahlia Harris said Wednesday that Nelson has epilepsy and anger management issues. He takes four medications daily.
“When he gets angry, he can’t control himself. They know he’s got a problem,” she told the Daily News.
She said she was sure she gave him his meds the morning of the attack.
He takes tegretol, banzel and phenobarbital for seizures and the anti-depressant fluoxetine (aka Prozac), she said.
Harris said the school usually has a teacher’s aide assigned to her son in class, but not when he goes to lunch.
“They allow him to go to lunch without [an aide]. During class there is [an aide] with him,” she said.
It was during a lunchtime game of hoops in a third-floor gym at Erasmus that witnesses said Allen took the ball from Nelson, driving him into a fury.
Witnesses said he left the gym, asked one teacher if he could have some acid, found a pair of scissors in a classroom and came back to attack Allen.
For Victims, an Overloaded Court System Brings Pain and Delays — (New York Times)
By STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
JAN. 31, 2016
Alfredo Allen had irreversible brain damage after being stabbed at his Brooklyn high school, and it took 41 court dates for the case against his attacker to be closed.
It had gone on for almost four years, Maxima Allen said as she sat on a hard bench in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn over the summer.
She did not need notes to remember the date — Dec. 20, 2011 — that her son Alfredo was stabbed with scissors on the basketball court of Erasmus Hall High School, causing irreversible brain damage.
Ms. Allen just wanted the case to end. Once the criminal case against Chevoy Nelson, the boy accused of stabbing her son, was over, she could sue the city and the Department of Education for money to help pay for Alfredo’s care, which comes to roughly $1,000 a day.
But the case, like so many others, had been delayed.
It is not news that cases can take a long time to wind their way through the court system in New York, or that lawyers use delay tactics. But to look closely at the Nelson case is to see this phenomenon played out to an extreme, and to understand the pain it can cause to a victim’s family.
This is a story of an overloaded system, where the schedules of judges and lawyers, records requests, medical examinations and simple errors can stretch cases out over years.
For victims, family members and defendants, the obligatory court appearances and inevitable postponements create “incredible pressure,” said Jocelyn Simonson, an assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School and a former public defender in Brooklyn.
She ticked off a list of how multiple court dates can affect those involved: lost wages, lost jobs, losing a place in drug-treatment programs because of missed sessions, child care issues. For defendants, open cases can cause problems with housing, child custody and professional licenses. And for defendants in jail, a postponement is devastating, Ms. Simonson said.
In Brooklyn, where Alfredo was assaulted, the State Supreme Court is trying new ways to address the backlog. It took an average of 307 days in Brooklyn last year from the time a felony indictment was handed up to the end of the case, up 26 percent from 243 days in 2012.
In Brooklyn and the other boroughs, once there is an indictment, a case requires an average of 11 court appearances to come to a close, according to the state’s Office of Court Administration.
Mr. Nelson’s case, which required 41 court dates, provides an up-close look at what goes wrong — why delays stretch from weeks to years, and how little delays can build to big ones…
In an interview, Ms. Allen showed photos and videos of Alfredo today, a beefy 19-year-old with vacant eyes, his tongue between his lips, his mouth moving but no sound coming out. He is on a ventilator for most of the time and does not move from his bed on most days…
By January 2015, more than three years after the attack, Mr. Nelson’s case was approaching trial. Records were gathered, motions decided and a judge set a trial date. On May 21, Mr. Nelson pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, agreeing to a sentence of 17 and a half years.
Mr. Paone picked a sentencing date about a month away. “Too long,” Justice Neil Jon Firetog responded, and scheduled an earlier date. But on June 11, the day of the scheduled sentencing, the sentencing reports were not in. On July 7, the reports again were not in. On July 31, Mr. Nelson was sentenced and the case was closed.
Now, legally, the Allens could pursue the civil case. The city made a settlement offer that was made final in September. The Allens accepted.
Ms. Allen hopes to bring her son home someday, with all the medical equipment and the costs that would require. While Medicaid will cover a portion of his care, the Allens will need to pay for much of it. “If there were only some way, some treatment, to someday help the young man have a life,” she said.
The Allens will receive $9 million, according to court documents. A life planner the Allens hired to review their son’s medical records estimated it will cost $16.7 million to $33.3 million to care for Alfredo for the rest of his life.