Minnesota legislators are calling for an investigation after a Twin Cities TV station's report about a man who did not receive court-mandated mental health treatment and was later charged in a fatal shooting.
In February 2020, Malcolm James Lessley, then 26, was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting of two people on a Metro Transit bus near Parking Ramp A in the 100 block of N. 9th Street. Tommie McCoy, 51, was killed. The other victim survived.
A KARE 11 investigation that aired Thursday found that Lessley had never received court-mandated treatment after he was found mentally incompetent to stand trial after pointing a gun at a taxi driver in 2018.
"Lessley is a 'gap' case — where mentally ill criminal defendants found incompetent to stand trial are released back into the community without the necessary mental health treatment and oversight to protect the public," KARE 11 reported.
Social workers involved in the 2018 case told the judge that Lessley had gone missing, but there was no record of anyone trying to find him, according to the investigation. Lessley lived with his mother, Geraldine Nabors, and her phone number was listed for Lessley. She told KARE that no one had contacted them to get Lessley into treatment.
On Friday, two House Republicans called for the state Department of Human Services to take responsibility and to make sure it is alerted when people are civilly committed.
"We are deeply troubled by news reports that the Department of Human Services failed to account for a dangerous individual who was ordered civilly committed to a DHS facility but was allowed to walk free and ultimately went on to kill an innocent person on a Metro Transit bus," Rep. Tony Albright, R-Prior Lake, and Rep. Peggy Scott, R-Andover, wrote. "Even worse, the agency's response to this news report was to try to evade responsibility and point fingers elsewhere."
They also called for the court system and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office to review what went wrong.
Asked for a comment, DHS sent the Star Tribune a statement from Deputy Commissioner Chuck Johnson on Friday night: "We welcome any opportunity to work with the Legislature to improve the state's mental health system."
Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759