Crime

Mentally Ill Man Kills Two Within Hours Of Being Turned Away From Care Facility

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A mentally ill Florida man allegedly killed his girlfriend and her mother with a baseball bat before taking his own life Monday – just hours after he was turned away from a mental health facility.

Tavares police say James Earl Jones, 32, beat his 42-year-old girlfriend Shannon Ratliff and her mother to death with an aluminum baseball bat. Ratliff was found dead in her home with "massive trauma to her head with a open head wound,” a police report said.

Her mother, 66-year-old Mavis Ratliff, died at a local hospital. Her brother, 51-year-old Eddie Ratliff, was also attacked and is in critical condition.

When police found Jones nearby, he was covered in blood and carrying the baseball bat.

"I ordered him to drop the bat as I was drawing my Taser," Cpl. Michael Woods said in the police report. Jones turned to run and reportedly said "Come on and tase me. Come on and tase me.”

Jones fled the scene and his body was later recovered in a lake where he presumably drowned.

His father Albert Jones told the Orlando Sentinel that his son was "schizophrenic" and the family tried several times to get him into a healthcare facility called LifeStream Behavioral Center.

“Just wanted to let the public know that LifeStream turned him away," Albert Jones said.

"They told him there was nothing they could do for him," he said, adding that the medical staff changed his son's medication but refused to admit him. "This could have been avoided … he volunteered to go to LifeStream."

A LifeStream spokesperson told the Sentinel that she had no details on Jones’ case, but that their staff evaluates to “assess whether they’re a threat to themselves or to others.”

Sources: Orlando Sentinel, New York Daily News

Image screenshot: WFTV