A judge has found a 19-year-old Lincoln man — who stabbed his high school friend to death while high on an over-the-counter cough suppressant — not guilty by reason of insanity.
District Court Judge Karen Flowers said, http://journalstar.com/articles/2007/04/25/news/local/doc462fb4126a709722975591.txt"> based on the evidence at trial, Shane Tilley didn’t know the difference between right and wrong the day he stabbed Andy Lubben to death.
Under Nebraska law, the inability to distinguish right from wrong, or to appreciate the consequences of one’s actions, are part of the legal definition of insanity.
At trial, the prosecution and the defense argued over the limits.
Amy Jacobsen, a deputy Lancaster County attorney, argued that the insanity defense wasn’t meant for defendants who willingly cause themselves to be psychotic.
Rob Kortus, Tilley’s attorney, said Tilley had a mental health condition prior to the stabbing that may have contributed to him taking the 32 Coricidin pills. Within an hour of taking them, delirium kicked in, and he wasn’t in a position to make choices based on right and wrong.
Flowers sided with the defense and ordered Tilley to the Lincoln Regional Center for an evaluation to determine if he remains a danger to himself and others and for a course of treatment.
She set a court hearing to go over the evaluation in August. The judge, attorneys for the state and defense and medical professionals will get a say in what happens then, with the judge factoring in the stabbing.
Then the hearing was over.
Guards led Tilley back to the jail.
Andy Lubben’s parents, Jeff and Lori Lubben, who had sat behind Tilley, stayed in their seats and talked privately with the prosecutor, Amy Jacobsen, after the room cleared.
When they left, they declined to comment.
At the end of the trial in April, Lori Lubben said she was worried about the insanity law and the idea that a kid could kill someone as a consequence of drug use and escape criminal punishment.
Her husband said it was like someone getting drunk and getting in a car and killing someone; they should be held accountable.
On Feb. 5, 2006, Tilley stabbed their son at least once in the kitchen of Tilley’s north Lincoln apartment, then followed him outside and stabbed him repeatedly — 24 times total, according to police.
Police arrived that day to find Tilley in his apartment, naked, uttering nonsensical words and suffering from apparently self-inflicted knife wounds to his chest and neck, according to trial testimony.
Two days earlier, Tilley had taken 32 Coricidin pills to get high.
Tuesday afternoon, after the verdict was read and the judge left, the filled courtroom sat still, with Tilley’s family the first to leave.
Shane Tilley’s dad, John Tilley of Bellevue, said he thinks the regional center will be a good place for his son to get the help he needs “and maybe even get his life together.”
They still don’t know what the long-term medical and psychological effects may be from taking the pills.
“I feel bad for Andy’s parents because I’m sure they think justice wasn’t served to the extent it should have been. But we have to hope for forgiveness,” he said.
John Tilley said he hoped down the road to be able to work with the Lubbens “to try to keep this from happening to somebody else’s child.”
The word needs to get out about kids doing this, he said.
Before this, John Tilley had never heard of kids taking cough medicine for a cheap, over-the-counter high. Now he warns parents to talk to their kids about the dangers and advocates for stores to put Coricidin and other medicines like it behind pharmacy counters.
“I came up and saw him the day that it happened, and that wasn’t my son laying in that hospital bed. I don’t know who that was,” he said.
Tilley says his son has changed since that night. He used to be happy-go-lucky. Now he’s withdrawn. He forgets things easily.
“I just hope the regional center can help him turn the page … get him on the right track to make a better life for himself.”
Outside the courthouse, Melissa Schwab was frustrated.
“Everybody should get justice or have a fair trial, but I just think the verdict was wrong,” said Schwab, a family friend of the Lubbens.
Tilley should have been convicted, she said, because he chose to take the drugs that led to the stabbing.
Schwab had known Andy from the time he was 4. He and her son grew up together. When Andy was young, he sometimes slept over at their house.
She said that’s why on Tuesday she wanted to be there for Andy’s parents and for Andy.
“He was a kind-hearted person. He would do anything for anybody. He was just a teddy bear. He was just a good kid,” Schwab said.
“For me, there’s no closure.”
Reach Lori Pilger at 473-7237 or email@example.com.