A man charged with murder who removed one of his eyes from its socket while he was in jail has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Aqeel Watson, 43, could be held at a state psychiatric facility for the rest of his life, officials said.
In a March 30 order, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Alison Hatheway accepted a psychiatric report and found “by clear and convincing evidence that (Watson) is mentally ill.”
Hatheway committed Watson to Summit Behavioral Healthcare, a psychiatric hospital in Roselawn. Because he faced a life prison sentence had he been convicted of the most serious charge he faced, aggravated murder, he will remain under the court’s jurisdiction for life. A judge will review his case periodically.
A spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office said the facility was the least restrictive means available that also keeps the community safe.
Watson was arrested in September 2019 at a Mt. Airy apartment, after officials said he called 911 on himself. Court documents say he broke into an apartment at 2365 W. North Bend Road and fatally stabbed 45-year-old Lamont Palmer approximately 50 times in the torso and head.
Days later, while being held in a cell at the Hamilton County Justice Center, officials said Watson “removed his own eye” from its socket. Corrections officers discovered what happened while doing suicide watch rounds, and he was rushed to a local hospital.
At a bench trial last month, officials said both Watson’s attorneys and prosecutors submitted evaluations that said he met the criteria for a not guilty by reason of insanity finding.
In 2007, Watson was found not guilty by reason of insanity while facing arson charges, according to court records. He was committed to Summit Behavioral Healthcare for 10 years – the maximum he would have served in prison had he been convicted of the most serious arson charge he faced.
In March 2017, a judge dismissed the insanity proceedings, and Watson was transferred to Hamilton County Probate Court.