Mentally Ill Woman Accused in NYC Subway Death

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A 49-year-old New York City woman was killed after being pushed in front of a subway train in Times Square yesterday, the New York Times reports. Assistant Police Chief William Aubry said witnesses on both the subway platform and the train itself flagged down police officers and pointed out a suspect. Melanie Liverpool-Turner, 30, was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder. The police described her as emotionally disturbed and said that she had made up a story last month about pushing a woman onto the tracks.

The preliminary investigation suggested that the attack was unprovoked. Cases involving people being pushed in front of subway trains are rare, but when they occur, they strike at some of the deepest fears held by city dwellers. In 1999, two attacks involving mentally ill people pushing unsuspecting victims into the path of trains, one fatally, led to legislation giving families the right to demand court-ordered outpatient psychiatric treatment for their ill relatives. Known as Kendra’s Law, for victim Kendra Webdale, it permits state judges to order closely monitored outpatient treatment for people with serious mental illnesses who have records of failing to take medication, and who have frequently been hospitalized or jailed or have exhibited violent behavior.

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