A judge has accepted a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity from a former University of Georgia freshman from Statesboro who allegedly drove into a restaurant, killing one person and injuring seven others.
Oliver Baylen Cope, now 19, “did not have the capacity at the time to distinguish between right and wrong” when he crashed his Dodge Charger into a Taco Bell in Swainsboro, the Statesboro Herald reported, citing doctors’ court filings.
A Superior Court judge in Emanuel County ruled that reports by three psychiatrists were conclusive that Cope suffered from “bipolar disorder, manic, severe with psychotic features” at the time of the September 2017 crash.
Cope drove across a four-lane highway and into the dining area, authorities said. A 23-year-old woman, Macy Lynn Mullis, was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to a local hospital.
Cope was indicted on charges of felony murder, eight counts of aggravated assault and criminal damage to property, the newspaper reported.
The judge ruled that Cope be detained for no more than 30 days by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities in order to evaluate his current mental condition, the Statesboro Herald reported.
The judge will then determine if Cope “meets criteria for inpatient commitment,” according to the newspaper.
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