Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Unlucky 7

Justin Quintana claimed he was God. He called police officers to saying he should be treated like the President and wanted 24-hour protection. He threatened his mother, and police had been called to Quintana’s house six times in a little more than a year. His mother – Susan Kuchma- was a state police officer, but there was nothing she could do to get treatment for her son’s paranoid schizophrenia. He didn’t chose treatment and wasn’t deemed dangerous.

One of Kuchma's family members said Friday that the officer loved her son and took great pains to document his behavior with the goal of getting him help. But her efforts were often frustrated.

"It's a lot of red tape," said Kuchma's niece and Quintana's cousin, Tenika Susana Sosa-Quintana, 28, of Mesquite. "...we all have civil liberties and Justin is an adult and Justin has not been deemed incompetent by any court.

"The whole thing comes down to whether or not a person is construed to be dangerous to themselves and/or others," said Ron Gurley, a local advocate for the mentally ill. "Well, that is in the eyes of the beholder. But locally here there seems to be a strict adherence to dangerousness being something where you have to almost present the fact that you are going to hurt somebody or hurt yourself."

Last Thursday, the seventh time police were called to Quintana’s home, officers found Kuchma dead from a gun shot wound. Maybe now that Quintana is charged with murdering his mother he’ll get treatment.

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