Man accused of killing hospital roommate declared not guilty due to mental disease

A Calhoun County judge has decided 24 year old Devonte Raynard Arnold is not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect. He has been turned over to the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. He was charged with killing his hospital roommate, Ian Keith Merritt, in Anniston Regional Medical Center in 2013.{}

Arnold underwent a mental evaluation by an appointed certified forensic examiner. It found Arnold had been suffering from a serious mental illness since the age of 19. The report read, "the Defendant is presently and at the time of the offense was suffering from schizophrenia, paranoid type, with psychotic process. The Defendant was in the psychiatric unit of the hospital for treatment of the mental illness when this offense occurred."

The reports went on to say Arnold didn't understand his actions, nor does he now have the ability to understand the legal proceedings.

In November 2013, Arnold was charged with the murder of Merritt. Investigators had said Arnold attacked Merritt inside the hospital room they shared. Merritt died from his injuries ten days later.{}

Arnold was taken to the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility Thursday.