Barlas Not Guilty Of Murder By Reason Of Mental Illness

Updated: 08/06/2014 5:47 PM
Created: 08/06/2014 11:49 AM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- A surprise turn-of-events Wedneday morning in a local murder case.

At 10:30 that morning, Thomas Barlas junior walked into a Cerro Gordo county courtroom for the start of his murder trial. 20 minutes later, the court issued its verdict.

"The defendant has met his burden of proof in establishing his insanity, therefore the court must enter a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity," Judge Gregg Rosenbladt ruled.

“The state cannot go forward with a crime against somebody who was insane at the time they committed that event," explained Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen.

On July 18th of last year, Thomas Barlas, senior was stabbed to death at his home in Mason City.

It was a crime discovered by the younger Barlas' mother.

"She was met in the garage by the defendant who was covered with blood. The defendant told her he had just killed Satan, then he ran out the door," Judge Rosenbladt read from court documents.

Thomas Barlas, Junior pleaded not guilty, and his attorneys began preparing an insanity defense. and forensic psychiatrists who examined Barlas for both the prosecution and the defense came to the same conclusion.

"Mr. Barlas was in fact suffering from a psychiatric episode that impaired his ability to determine right from wrong at the time of his father's death," said prosecuting attorney Douglas Hammerand.

Barlas waived his right to a jury trial, and on Wednesday, Judge Gregg Rosenbladt heard the case against Thomas Barlas, junior.

"The court has had the opportunity to review the minutes of testimony because all those documents and reports are contained in the court file," the Judge told attorneys and defendant Thomas Barlas. And based on those documents and reports:

"The evidence indicates that at the time of this offense the defendant was legally insane and he did not know the difference between right and wrong."

“He's not automatically released," said Dalen.

The judge ordered that Barlas be transported to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale for additional mental health evaluation.

"And we will have another hearing to determine what is appropriate, whether he will be housed long-term or what will happen regarding his mental health," Dalen explained.

"The ultimate goal here is to reintegrate Mr. Barlas back into the community, and that's what we should do with people who suffer from mental health issues," said defense attorney Aaron Hamrock.

Thomas Barlas Jr.-Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Illness