Monday, August 6, 2012
Bear Behind Bars
Hubby is taking this pretty hard. He keeps thinking there was something we could have done differently. Honestly I've come to terms with the fact that there's nothing more we could do - the brain damage, the low IQ, the mental illness, the RAD, the trauma... all happened long before we even met Bear (he came to our home when he was 13.5). We had gotten him to a pretty good place, but when he moved out and went off his meds... there was nothing more we could have done. I did worry jail was inevitable and frankly I think he will thrive on the structure.
When Bear called us last Saturday for a bus ticket to Nebraska it turned out he was running from the law, not just a fight with his bio grandfather. He made it to Nebraska, but after lying to his bio grandmother for several days, he did end up having her drive him back to Oklahoma where he apparently finally turned himself in. He has burned a LOT of bridges with bio family, and most likely will not be able to stay with any of them when he gets out of jail. (Lying, property damage, yelling at his 3 yr old sister "for crying", generally exhibiting out of control, aggressive behavior).
I really appreciate how much information Bio Mom and Bio Grandmother gave me. Otherwise Bear's call from jail on Thursday would have been a big shock, and since he refused to talk about what he's being charged with we would have felt even more clueless.
Bear doesn't seem to understand the seriousness of the charges at all. His bail is $350,000. No one can afford the 10% bond (not to mention he's a total flight risk - since he's known the police wanted him to come in since July 8th). He thinks he can negotiate with the bail bondsman to "work something out" to get him out (using the $600 he and his current girlfriend have saved "for a house"). He has no job and no collateral.
This is a first degree felony and he's basically admitted he's guilty to the police. The minimum term in prison is 5 years and the death penalty could even apply. The detective in charge of the case mentioned a 25 to 30 year sentence (didn't say that's what it would be, but kind of implied that was what he expected). Bear is talking about getting out in a couple of months. He's talking about all the friends and family he's met in jail - people who know his bioparents, even a first cousin. These people are "watching out for him" and he's enjoying doing puzzles and hanging out with them. He's hoping his bio dad will be able to come to court on Wednesday so he can see him for the first time in many, many years.
On Wednesday Bear goes in front of the judge to hear the charges, be asked if he understands them (he'll say yes, although I don't think he really does), and get a packet to apply for a public defender. I was assured the jail personnel will help him fill this out.
I've told Bear to have the public defender contact me so I can give him information about Bear's IQ and diagnoses which might help his case. I'm trying to convince Bear this is a good reason to get back on his meds too. It might also help to have a current psych eval to ensure he really is capable of understanding the charges and trial. On medication and in a controlled environment, his IQ is 72. He's been off meds almost 6 months so they are almost definitely out of his system. His illnesses, issues, processing speed and other issues means his judgment is impaired and he may not be completely accountable for his actions.
I most certainly am not trying to get him out of this. He needs serious consequences, and I'm not totally convinced he won't actually do better in prison than in the "real world." I don't however think he deserves to be in prison for the rest of his life because of one really bad choice. I wonder if this is what his stupid psychiatrist had in mind when he told Bear "this is the time of your life to experiment and make bad choices."