The Southern Standard, by Duane Sherrill —
Too sane for a mental institution, but too insane for a trial by jury, a local man who kidnapped a 4-year-old boy this past summer is free on bond and will likely escape serving any time behind bars.
“What’s going to happen if he decides to do this again?” asked the distraught mother of the boy kidnapped in July by Tristan Lusk, 23. “My child was lucky. What happens next time?”
Lusk has been in a mental institution since shortly after he allegedly abducted the boy from Westside Manor Apartments. Prosecutors say he knew the family and had come over for a visit when the mother noticed him leaving with her son in his vehicle.
The mother tried to stop Lusk, but to no avail. The boy was found unharmed a short time later at the home of Lusk’s parents. Lusk reportedly claimed he did not intend to hurt the child, suggesting to authorities that he thought the child was his, something which the mother said would be biologically impossible.
While charged with kidnapping, assistant prosecutor Tom Miner said chances are low for a conviction given the diagnosis from the state’s own mental health experts.
“They say he is sane to stand trial now but that he was insane at the time of the crime,” Miner said of the mental health report on Lusk. “This is going to make it difficult on the state to go forward.”
Lusk’s attorney, John Partin agreed, noting the defense will obviously file notice of not guilty by reason of insanity. And, seeing Lusk has been given a somewhat clean bill of mental health if he continues on his outpatient treatment and medications, he would not be eligible for institutionalization in a mental facility. Therefore chances are Lusk will be go free in the future.
“I’m still not comfortable letting him out,” said investigator Nicole Mosley of the McMinnville Police Department.
Given the chances of Lusk not being committed, the state said it had no option but to reduce his bond to $10,000, something his parents say they plan to readily make.
General Sessions Judge Larry Ross strongly cautioned the parents of Lusk, telling them their son must be under complete house arrest with only trips for mental treatment allowing him off his property.
Despite the low chances of conviction, Lusk remains charged and had his case bound to the grand jury. If indicted, Lusk will be assigned a trial date and a decision will be made as to whether he will be tried, or if some kind of pre-trial arrangement will be made.