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United States v. Lymond

June 29, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
JOSEPH LYMOND



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the court for judgment is the indictment (Doc. 14) against defendant Joseph Lymond ("defendant"). Count 1 of the indictment charges defendant with assault a federal employee in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1) and (2). Count 2 contains a charge for threatening a federal employee with intent to impede the employee's official duties in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 115(a)(1) and (b)(4). A non-jury trial was held on June 26, 2009, during which the parties stipulated to the facts constituting the offense conduct. Pursuant to Rule 23(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the court's findings of fact and conclusions of law are set forth below.

I. Findings of Fact

1. Defendant has a diagnosed history of schizoaffective disorder. As a result of this condition, he has experienced many episodes in which he believes himself to be fighting vampires, demons, and other spectral creatures. (Doc. 39, attach. at 5-8.)

2. On July 12, 2008, defendant approached a mail carrier employed by the United States Postal Service near defendant's residence at 105 East New Cumberland Street in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and demanded an article of mail, which defendant described as "his check."

3. The mail carrier responded that he did not have the check. Defendant, believing that the carrier had stolen the check, threatened to summon law enforcement officers if the carrier did not deliver it to defendant's residence.

4. The carrier again explained that he did not have the check.

5. Defendant then placed a telephone call requesting police assistance for a postal theft. He stated that he planned to "beat up" the carrier in the absence of a police response.

6. Soon thereafter, defendant approached the mail carrier while the latter was sitting in his Postal Service vehicle. Defendant reached through the vehicle's open window and grabbed the mail carrier by the throat.

7. Two off-duty police officers were in the area and restrained defendant while the mail carrier extricated himself from defendant's grip.

8. Defendant was arrested. Following an initial appearance in federal court, he was committed to the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") for a criminal responsibility evaluation.

9. BOP medical examiners conducted the evaluation during August and September 2008. Defendant informed examiners that he accosted the mail carrier because he believed the government had restricted his access to food stamp funds. At the time of the attack, he believed that the carrier was "a messenger of evil" sent to steal his check. (Id. at 12.) He stated that he "was under a delusion from the devil at the time." (Id.)

10. Medical examiners confirmed defendant's diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. (Id. at 10.) On September 21, 2008, medical staff opined as follows with regard to defendant's psychological condition at the time of the charged offenses:

1. Regarding the issue of Mental Disability or Defect,... Mr. Lymond currently presents with a Mental Disease under the law, ...


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