South Euclid, Ohio, police officers knew Timothy Halton Jr. was erratic and often delusional. When enraged, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer, he unleashed explosive and unpredictable aggression on relatives, strangers, and police, who always sent extra officers to deal with the 5-foot-11, 275-pound man. Police, judges, and probation officers say they tried to contain Halton, 27, and keep him on medication. Now, he is accused of killing a police officer last Friday.
South Euclid Sgt. Rick Friedl is exasperated and saddened that the efforts of police weren’t enough. “Me personally, dealing with him numerous times and seeing a brother officer then killed by him is very frustrating,” he said said. Police often took Halton to hospitals for evaluations or arrested him, only to see him back on the streets. Judges often ordered him to stick with treatment and gave him probation. The six probation officers who handle mental health and retardation cases meet with their 500 charges and their case managers weekly, said Dan Peterca, unit supervisor. He said probation officers don’t take lightly the responsibility of leaving mentally ill people who have committed crimes unmonitored in the community. “We’re all torn up about the end result here.”