A Toledo man who assaulted a gas station attendant with a Bible during a robbery attempt four months ago was found not guilty by reason of insanity Friday.
After hearing testimony from three witnesses Monday and Friday, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Stacy Cook found that Abbott Griffin, 57, who listed his address as the Cherry Street Mission, was a mentally ill person who did not understand the wrongfulness of his actions when he robbed the Circle K, 2969 Tremainsville Rd., on Aug. 28.
Gregory Forgac, a clinical psychologist with the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center, told the court Friday that after evaluating Griffin, he found that at the time of the incident Griffin suffered from a psychotic disorder that caused him to lose contact with reality.
On Monday, Matthew Turner, the Circle K employee who was confronted by Griffin, testified that Griffin approached him as he was restocking an ice cooler outside the business and began striking him with a Bible. Griffin then told him to go inside and open the cash drawer.
Mr. Turner said Griffin never picked up the cash he laid on the counter but told him to open the safe — something he couldn’t do. Describing it as an “unpredictable” situation, he said Griffin at one point told him to call the police and the mayor.
“I wasn’t sure what he wanted,” Mr. Turner said. “I didn’t know if I was being robbed or if he was just letting off steam.”
Toledo Police Officer Michael Breeze, the first to arrive at the Circle K, said Griffin initially approached him with his hands in the air and asked to be taken into custody. But when the officer attempted to handcuff him, Griffin objected, moved away, and began throwing beer cans at the officer, Officer Breeze said.
“He seemed to be having some type of problem, and I didn’t know what the problem was,” the patrolman said.
Judge Cook ordered that Griffin be evaluated to determine the least restrictive environment in which he can receive mental-health treatment while protecting him and the community. She set a Dec. 31 hearing to decide his placement.
The judge has the authority to maintain supervision over Griffin for up to eight years — the maximum prison sentence he would have faced if convicted of robbery.
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