Psychiatrist says accused baby-puncher is schizophrenic
It was a story that truly shocked the community: a woman caught on camera punching a baby girl in the face before running away. That woman is believed to be Yu Hua Han, who has since taken the insanity plea.
Today, Han appeared in court while parties argued whether mental illness prevents her from standing trial.
Han's psychiatric evaluation was originally under seal, but today, was discussed in open court. According to testimony from psychiatrist Dr. Kirk Bellis, with the assistance of a Mandarin interpreter, he conducted a two-hour evaluation of the defendant back in March. His diagnosis - schizophrenic spectrum disorder, formerly known as paranoid schizophrenia.
Hallmark symptoms of the mental disorder include delusions and hallucinations. Even at the time of the evaluation, Han reported hearing voices in her head telling her not to talk to Dr. Bellis. But is schizophrenia enough to keep Han from standing trial for assaulting 10-month-old Alexya Esser on New Year's Day?
According to Dr. Bellis, probably. As Dr. Bellis addressed the court, Han is probably not competent and would have a difficult time understanding the nature of the proceedings as well as not being able to assist in her defense. If she did stand trial, the court would need to spend an extraordinary amount of time to get her to understand the concepts.
But was she able to differentiate right from wrong at the time of the alleged incident?
According to Dr. Bellis, probably not. Han's belief is that she needed to pay the government money and that the only way to do that was to commit an offense so that she could be fined and this would allow her to give the government money. This was the same belief she had back in 2009 when Han was arrested for stabbing a baby girl and the baby's father outside Lonestar Steakhouse in Tamuning.
According to the victim's family in that case, Han took the insanity plea and was deemed unfit to stand trial due to paranoid schizophrenia. The case is believed to have been expunged as the courts could not confirm or deny this information.
According to Dr. Bellis, Han's medical records show she was first committed to the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center (formerly known as the Department of Mental Health) in 2006. At the time of the alleged "baby punching", she was not under their care. Her last time at Guam Behavioral Health was in October 2014.
Overall, Dr. Bellis recommended that Han be watched and taken care of at all times, noting her fragility. Even if she is taking her medicines, they're not a cure all.
The issue, he says sheds light on the island's need for a forensic center - this because the Department of Corrections may be able confine individuals like Han, but can't treat them whereas Guam Behavioral Health can treat them, but can't confine them.
The court took the issue of Han's competency under advisement.