PALM COAST, Fla. – This story started off about a man who admitted to biting the lips off a kitten, but the more articles I read about it, along with comments from friends and family of the accused, the more a popular subject on our D’D Podcasts kept coming to the surface; What should society do with the mentally ill who commit criminal acts?
I’ll address that question in a minute, but first here are the details surrounding 28-year-old Angel Roman’s arrest for abusing his roommates’ kittens. If you want the short version of this entire article, it’s the last sentence. You’re welcome.
Roman was living with two women who had rented a room to him. He reportedly spent a lot of time with his roommate’s kittens and was often seen holding them and caring for them. It is believed he began abusing the animals after his roommates went out of town, leaving Roman to care for them.
While they were gone, Roman called the women to inform them he had found someone interested in taking two of the kittens off their hands, to which the women agreed. A couple days after returning home, one of the remaining kittens was found dead. It was initially chalked up to a natural death, as there weren’t any noticeable injuries to the animal.
But later, another kitten named Oreo was found suffering from injuries that they thought may have come from being attacked by another cat. When the injuries grew worse, they realized that another cat could not be responsible for the injuries, unless a cat had figured out how to use fire.
When Roman was confronted, he admitted to choking the kitten found dead earlier, and to burning the ears and whiskers of Oreo, as well as biting off the kitten’s lips. He told police he hurt the kittens because he was upset about his girlfriend leaving him. On May 20, the women turned over Oreo to to Palm Coast’s animal control division and a veterinarian would later confirm that the kitten’s injuries were consistent with Roman’s statements. The two kittens that were “given away” have not been accounted for.
On the same day Oreo was turned over, Roman was Baker Acted after an official from Flagler and Volusia Support Services requested it. Three days later, a judge signed a warrant for Roman’s arrest on felony charges of cruelty to animals. Roman turned himself in on May 26, and is now in jail on $100,000 bond.
That’s the story, and of course many people commented on the many articles out there, stating that Roman needed to put in jail for a long time, that he needed to have his lips bitten off, that he was a potential serial killer, etc, etc. But one article by FlaglerLive.com presented an issue that we have discussed on the site ad nauseam – especially with the recent, horrific cases of the mentally disturbed committing horrific acts.
Roman suffers from several mental illnesses. He was born a crack baby and adopted by a family who, according to his sister, did everything they could for Roman growing up. He has been on medications all his life and has a history of arrests for domestic battery, breach of the peace, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and trespassing.
The issue is that like his past arrests, he will be placed in jail for this and then later released suffering from the same mental issues he had before he was locked up. Roman needs professional help, either voluntarily or involuntarily, but as the Flagler Live article points out, beds in state treatment facilities are few and they are expensive. Add in the fact that the state is investing less money in caring for the mental health of the indigent, and society is left with mentally ill people walking the streets untreated and carrying long rap sheets.
Aside from those who just want the mentally ill off the streets regardless of how, or if, it will actually help society in the long run, there are others who say that Roman’s reportedly large family should be the ones to bear the responsibility of his care, not the taxpayers. If we were talking about a juvenile belonging to a large family with money, I might agree. But we are talking about a 28-year-old man.
I expect knee-jerk, reactionary comments on all of our articles. But does anyone think there is a solution to the mentally ill who begin posing a threat to society? One that benefits both the individual and the society they live in? If they are deemed treatable, is jail truly the best recourse? If not, who pays for their treatment? I’m not sure there is a solution that would address all cases, but surely there has to be a better way than just letting them spend a few nights in jail, or a mental facility, before releasing them back into society like a ticking time-bomb.
Man with history of mental illness bites lips off kitten and arrested. Some calling for treatment instead of jail.Tags: Angel Roman, animal abuse, Crime, Florida, mental illness, mentally ill