Man who attacked Decatur gay man found not guilty by reason of insanity

Macon County Courthouse. Photo by Dave Wright. Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Ethan Dickerson, who was charged in February for attempted murder of a gay man in Decatur, was found not guilty by reason of insanity on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

The Decatur Herald & Review reported that Macon County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Geisler ordered the evaluation of Dickerson’s treatment needs to be completed within 30 days. In the meantime, the now 20-year-old defendant will be held in the Macon County Jail “until further order” from the court.

Dickerson was arrested for attempted first degree murder, home invasion, hate crime, aggravated unlawful restraint, and aggravated battery. Decatur police were called to a home because of a report of someone breaking a window on Thursday afternoon. The police entered the house when he heard calls for help and arrested Dickerson.

He had reportedly told the man he was attack, “You know why I have to do this… you’re gay, you’re evil… I am going to kill you.”

According to the Herald & Review, the defense and prosecution agreed that he was not capable of understanding the “criminality of his conduct.” This was based on an mental health examination of Dickerson already carried out by a private psychiatrist at the request of defense attorney Prya Murad.

Murad acknowledged that State’s Attorney Scott Rueter could prove that Dickerson tried to kill his 60-year-old neighbor and prove charges that Dickerson had committed a hate crime and home invasion.

Rueter told the newspaper the outcome was a just conclusion to the case. He said the doctor the defense had paid for to evaluate Dickerson’s mental state was a psychiatric expert the prosecution was familiar with, had used themselves, and trusted.

The Herald & Review reported that the case is now scheduled for a review hearing Jan. 6 when, if the state’s mental health and treatment recommendation is available, Geisler will review the findings and decide whether to approve them. The victim, who has not been publicly identified, will also be able to give a victim impact statement at the hearing.