Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Peoria, Illinois: 22 Year old man with developmental age of a toddler beats housmate to death

Journal Star
Posted Aug 10, 2010 @ 09:08 PM

PEORIA — The attorney for a developmentally disabled man who was indicted Tuesday for allegedly beating to death a housemate last week said his client shouldn't be in jail.

"He doesn't have the mental capacity to have a criminal intent," said attorney Timothy Newlin of Joey R. Brooks, 22, who was indicted on one count of first-degree murder for the death of John Vogel. He will next appear in court Thursday to be arraigned on the charge. Until then, he remains in custody at the Peoria County Jail on $500,000 bond.

And that's what has Newlin and Brooks' parents upset. They believe this case is different than others. Newlin said his client has an IQ of 12, and the mental age of a 21/2-year-old. He's diagnosed with profound mental retardation and autism, the attorney said, reading from a 2009 report.

"He's essentially a toddler; you don't lock up toddlers," he said.

Rather, the parents, who live in Peoria County, said they believe their son should be moved.

"He should be at the Jacksonville Developmental Center with supervision and not locked up, and I agree with them completely," Newlin said.

Brooks was arrested Friday afternoon after sheriff's deputies responded to 1042 N. Emily Place, a duplex that is run by Trinity Services and houses several developmentally disabled people. There they found Vogel lying on the ground with head injuries and Brooks in another room, curled up in the fetal position.

Police believe Brooks repeatedly hit Vogel in the head after an argument with another person. A mental fitness test has been ordered, and Newlin said he doesn't believe the report is finished yet.

Brooks moved there about a year ago after spending nine years at the Hope School Learning Center in Springfield. Newlin said there is no evidence that Brooks had any problems while at that school. He did say the 22-year-old had no criminal history.

Newlin said he tried to communicate with Brooks on Sunday during a jailhouse visit and got the sense that he "did not understand" what was happening.

The attorney said his client is nonverbal and used a 20-pound Communication Assistance Device while at Trinity house. The device apparently has a key pad like interface with pictures that would allow Brooks to convey what he wants.

Andy Kravetz can be reached at 686-3283 or