Murder in the asylum

Psychiatric hospitals are where people with profound mental illness are often sent to prevent them from hurting themselves or other people while they get care.

It doesn’t always work out that way.

On Tuesday, Bryant Sheard, 18, of Holmesburg, was ordered to stand trial for murder in the Nov. 30 strangulation death of roommate Anthony Bailey, 23, of Olney, in their room at Belmont Behavioral Health, on the 4200 block of Monument Road in the city's West Park section.

Police said the two men got into an argument at the 147-bed private psychiatric hospital that ended with Bailey’s death.

Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni agreed with the argument of Assistant District Attorney Thomas Lipscomb after hearing that psychiatric evaluations showed Sheard was mentally competent to understand and participate in his defense.

Defense attorney Allan J. Sagot argued that the charges should be dismissed: “This was a psychiatric facility and both people were living up there because of their psychiatric issues. … Both were also heavily medicated.” 

There was no information during the hearing about the subject of the fatal argument.