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January 17, 2004
Just Because He's Crazy Doesn't Make Him Stupid

... but it does make the Missouri legislature look foolish:

A convicted sex offender says he broke out of a sexual-predator unit in 2001 knowing that a legal loophole would prevent Missouri authorities from charging him with escape. ... Under the civil commitment programs in Missouri and 15 other states, sex offenders who complete their prison sentences can be held indefinitely in a mental hospital if they are deemed likely to commit new sex crimes.

But when Missouri enacted the program in 1998, it did not specify that escaping from a civil facility was a crime. As a result, authorities could pursue Ingrassia only on a charge of felony property damage, for cutting the fence. The crime carries up to seven years in prison.

Thomas Ingrassia had been convicted of four sexual attacks in the 70s and was released from prison in 1997. He had to be committed because he was convicted of stalking, in yet another example of why serial sexual offenders need to be locked up for life. The only difference between Ingrassia and Alfonso Rodriguez is that Ingrassia wasn't as efficient and managed to get caught before his next attack. This must be a surprise when he was captured:

He was captured in October in Florida, where he had remarried and taken an alias.

This puts me in mind of the story of a motorist who gets a flat tire on a highway. He pulls over to the side of the road next to a mental hospital and gets his jack out. A patient wanders over and watches him through the fence, which makes the driver nervous. While taking the tire off the car, he kicks the hubcap accidentally that held all the lugnuts, which promptly disappear down a storm drain. The driver starts swearing and stomping around, but the patient interrupts him. "Just take one nut off of each of the other three tires, use the three to put your spare on, and that will hold you until you make it to a service station."

The driver stares at him for a moment, obviously stunned, and then says, "That's brilliant! Thank you. What's a sharp guy like you doing in a mental hospital?"

The patient smiles at him and says, "Just because I'm crazy doesn't mean I'm stupid."

Obviously Ingrassia has intelligence, or at least cunning, and that makes him doubly dangerous. Even though he can only be charged with felony property damage, he's still subject to his prior commitment, and steps should be taken to make sure he is never again released or inadvertently set free.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 17, 2004 12:17 PM

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