A violent, mentally ill defendant, who briefly escaped an assisted living facility after being placed there without permission from a judge, will now be booked into a secure state psychiatric hospital for treatment.
The announcement came Friday as a Miami-Dade judge chastised more than a dozen representatives from Jackson Memorial Hospital and mental health care providers tasked with supervising Cristobal Abreu, 72, who is accused of stabbing a police officer with a long fork.
“To say that a court order has been violated not once, but twice, is a travesty,” Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Ellen Sue Venzer said. “What would you all have been saying if the police had gone out to get him and he did not have a BBQ fork but a switchblade or a box cutter, or a gun?”
The mentally ill Abreu is facing a charge of aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer, but doctors have said his mind is too scrambled to ever face trial.
For years, he has bounced around South Florida mental-health facilities.
Abreu wound up last year at a Miami Gardens assisted-living facility, which grew frustrated because government funding for his medicine had not come through, providers told the judge Friday.
Over a December weekend — despite a court order mandating Venzer’s authorization — the ALF shipped him to Jackson North Medical Center.
The move surprised Abreu’s lawyer, prosecutor and the judge, who asked that a plan be formulated to find a new facility to treat and house the man.
But in the meantime, a Jackson case worker sent him to San Martin de Porras Assisted Living Facility in Little Havana.
Miami-Dade Assistant County Valda Clark Christian, representing Jackson, told the judge that a “miscommunication” led the case worker to believe the judge had been notified of the move.
“Regrettably, they were looking at it from a medical perspective,” she said. “They were looking at it from a clinical perspective and thought the move was appropriate.”
On Tuesday night, after the judge had angrily ordered Friday’s hearing, Abreu walked away from the ALF — hollering “I’m free! — and was eventually collared by police and taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital.
In the middle of Friday’s hearing, a Jackson administrator told the judge that doctors had determined Abreu was a danger to himself or others. That means he’ll now be taken to the South Florida State Hospital, a secure facility in Pembroke Pines.
Also on hand Friday were representatives from state-contracted mental health agencies South Florida Behavioral Network and New Horizons Mental Health Center. Venzer ordered them to formulate a plan on avoiding similar mishaps.
“It sounds to me this just seems to be a bureaucratic battle as so who is going to fund this guy,” Venzer said of Abreu’s case.