CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- An Alum Creek man will not be held criminally responsible for allegedly stealing, sexually assaulting and killing his neighbor's pygmy goat while high on the synthetic cocaine known as "bath salts."
After several mental evaluations over the last year and half, Mark Lucas Thompson is not competent for trial on the charges he faces for animal cruelty, a Kanawha County Circuit judge found Monday.
Instead, Judge James C. Stucky ordered that Thompson spend 6 1/2 years in treatment at the William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital, in Weston, in lieu of prison. Because Thompson has been in the regional jail system since May 2011 and Stucky gave him credit for time served, he may only spend up to five years in the Sharpe mental health facility.
"I don't think the jail system is the place for him," Kanawha County assistant prosecutor Fred Giggenbach said of Thompson.
But he added that after Thompson spends five years in treatment, "he's not just released back into society if he's still mentally unstable and presents a danger to himself or others."
Giggenbach said that when Thompson is released from state custody, prosecutors might ask a judge to commit him to a civilian mental facility. The state would continue to pay for his treatment at that point, he said.
On May 2, 2011, police said, Thompson was high on bath salts when his neighbors found him in his room, dressed in women's clothing, standing next to the dead goat.
The neighbors had suspected that Thompson, who had a history of erratic behavior, had stolen the goat. When they entered his house and announced their presence, Thompson told them not to come in his room because he was naked, according to previous Gazette reports.
After police searched the home later, they found a pornographic magazine lying a few feet from the goat's bloodied body. Kanawha County sheriff's deputies confirmed that the goat had at least one stab wound.