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KARE 11 Investigates: Mentally ill, known to be dangerous, discharged anyway

Part 2 – “The Gap: failure to treat, failure to protect” reveals how dangerous holes in Minnesota’s mental health system cost a woman her life.

Brandon Stahl (KARE11), A.J. Lagoe, Steve Eckert

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Published: 4:11 PM CDT September 23, 2021
Updated: 4:38 PM CDT October 25, 2021

Neighbors made the 911 call to St. Paul police around midnight last year. They heard fighting between a man and woman in nearby apartment number 6. It sounded like it was getting physical.

It was getting worse.

The two officers who arrived heard a child wailing and a man screaming.

“Stay down or I will kill you,” he shouted. 

By the time the cops could kick down the door it was too late. 

Inside they found a 2-year-old boy covered in blood, standing next to a woman lying face down – 21-year-old Abigail Simpson, already dead. 

Her boyfriend, 23-year-old Terrion Sherman, stood over them, also covered in blood. 

A quick background check would show that Sherman already had a criminal history littered with charges including arson, assault, and robbery. In some of those cases, judges found him mentally incompetent to stand trial. 

Officers soon realized the severity of Sherman’s mental illness. He told investigators that the boy – his nephew he and Simpson had been babysitting -- turned into a dog. It was self-defense, he told them, because Abigail turned into a dog and a man and came at him with a knife. 

Sherman is known in Minnesota as a gap case – found incompetent to stand trial in previous charges due to mental illness, then released back into the community while still incompetent, often without the necessary help and support.

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