Judge: Terry Greer not guilty of wife's murder by reason of ment - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Judge: Terry Greer not guilty of wife's murder by reason of mental defect

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The judge ruled that Terry Greer was not guilty of his wife's murder or the attempted murder of his daughter due to mental disease or defect. Source: WBRC video The judge ruled that Terry Greer was not guilty of his wife's murder or the attempted murder of his daughter due to mental disease or defect. Source: WBRC video
Terry Greer appeared in court for a hearing to determine his mental status at the time he allegedly killed his wife and tried to kill their daughter in 2013. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC Terry Greer appeared in court for a hearing to determine his mental status at the time he allegedly killed his wife and tried to kill their daughter in 2013. Source: Sherea Harris/WBRC
Terry Greer's mug shot. Source: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Terry Greer's mug shot. Source: Jefferson County Sheriff's Office
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

A judge has ruled that Terry Greer, the Gardendale minister accused of murdering his wife and shooting his daughter last year, is not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

A hearing regarding Greer's mental state began around 1:30 p.m. in Judge Tommy Nail's courtroom. The judge ruled Greer didn't know the difference between right and wrong during the time of the shootings.

Judge Nail also committed Greer to the state department of mental health. He will be transferred from the Jefferson County Jail to the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility in Tuscaloosa.

Greer was accused of shooting his wife Lisa to death and attempting to murder his daughter Suzanna at their Gardendale home on Jan. 10, 2013.

His daughter, 18 years old at the time, managed to get the gun away from her father and ran next door to get help from neighbors, who called police.

Police officers found Greer stabbing himself with a kitchen knife in the bathroom and took him into custody.

He spent a couple months in the hospital recovering from his self-inflicted wounds before he was booked into the Jefferson County Jail in March 2013.

In a statement shared in court on Wednesday, Greer's daughter said her dad was acting strangely on the day of the shootings. He reportedly told his wife and daughter, "What if we all drive up to heaven today?"

According to the statement, Greer's daughter said her dad told her mother he had a present for her under the jacket he was holding. They all went to a bedroom, and he pulled a .22 caliber pistol from under the jacket and started shooting his wife and daughter as they tried to run away.

Suzanna Greer said she locked herself in a bathroom and could hear more gunshots being fired. At one point, she managed to wrestle the gun from her father and get help.

Details from Greer's mental evaluation were also shared in court on Wednesday. Dr. Glen David King said Greer suffers from mental illness, severe depression, anxiety and dementia.

Dr. King also testified that Greer told him he had an out of body experience during the shootings. King said there was no sign that Greer was faking his mental state at the time of the shootings.

About an hour into the hearing, Judge Nail made the decision that Greer was not guilty due to mental disease or defect.

Both Greer's attorney and the prosecution said afterwards they agreed with the judge's decision.

"After I read Dr. King's report and our experts report, I think it's the only fair outcome, truthful outcome," Greer's lawyer Mark Polson said.

"Based on evidence heard today, he only had one choice to make," prosecuting Deputy District Attorney Neal Zarzour said.

"That's the choice he made, which is to commit Mr. Greer to the department of mental health and to be held there until such time as he sees fit to be released, which may never happen," Zarzour added.

Greer's attorney, Henry Lagman, said last year that Greer was mentally in a dark place during the shootings. Lagman said Greer had a perfect storm of psychological, personal and professional problems.

Lagman said Greer's problems started in October 2012 after a car accident left him with health issues. Soon after, Greer fell 20 to 30 feet from his deck, landing on his head. He suffered a serious brain injury, which allegedly led to mental problems.

Lagman said Greer's wife was trying to get her husband help.

"You have a wife that is trying to do everything she can to return her husband to his ministry and do everything she can to see he gets treatment. His mental condition continued to deteriorate," Lagman said.

The attorney said Greer was admitted to a psychiatric ward at Brookwood Hospital in December 2012. He was released on Christmas Day but was continuing to get treatment. The shooting happened 16 days after his release.

Greer was the senior pastor at Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church.

Director of Communications for the North Alabama Conference of the United Methodist Church, Danette Clifton, released this statement about Greer:

"Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett expressed hopes that people will continue to pray for everyone involved in these tragic events. Terry Greer remains on Involuntary Leave of Absence at this time."

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.

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