Decatur family says mental health system failed them after deadly stabbing

“Is he going to get help now that he’s murdered somebody?”
Updated: Jun. 13, 2021 at 11:56 PM CDT
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DECATUR, Ala. (WAFF) - The family of 66-year-old Deborah Patterson who was stabbed to death Saturday morning has released court documents showing a signed court order for her grandson to be put into a mental institute.

Her grandson, Aaron Michael Brown, is accused of killing her. Those documents were dated May 26 of this year. A little over two weeks after police say he killed his grandmother.

According to court documents, Patterson called someone to tell them that her grandson hit her. Records indicate that call ended, and the person could not get Patterson back on the phone.

That person was his aunt, Melissa Hummer.

“I was on the phone with my mom. It was around 11:30-ish and Aaron had had a really bad day, but nothing directed towards my mother whatsoever,” said Hummer.

But she says things changed quickly.

“All of a sudden she said “Oh he just hit me twice. Call 911.” The next thing I heard was “I love you. Why are you doing this?”

Decatur police responded to the call at 1610 Locust St. just after midnight. Inside they found Patterson stabbed to death. Brown’s maternal grandmother said that she had gotten a court order taken out against Brown just a couple of weeks before this happened.

She gave WAFF a copy of that order.

“We got the petition. We thought he was going to be taken care of we thought he would be put somewhere to be helped,” said Linda Cockrell.

In the order, it states that Linda Cockrell petitions the court to commit Aaron Michael Brown to the custody of the Alabama State Department of Mental Health or such other facility as the court may order.

The order also states Brown is mentally ill and as a result of his illness, it poses a real and substantial threat to himself and others

His family said none of this would have happened if the system would have taken Brown’s mental health problems seriously.

“She would be here if they would have picked him up on that order that was signed by the judge or they would have kept him in the hospital when they first got out of jail and the doctor released him and said he didn’t need to be in a mental facility,” said Hummer.

They also tell WAFF they lost two family members when this happened and what they want most now is for Brown to finally get help.

”To see what he’s become in the last two years is heartbreaking. It’s not him. He wasn’t himself. And what we’re wanting we’re fighting to try to get him the help so that maybe he can get as close as he can to what he was. I hate to see what’s going to happen to him when if they do start getting him mental help and he realizes what he’s done. He’s going to hate himself. It’s not right. He doesn’t deserve to hate himself and it could have been avoided.”

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