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Victim Details Apparent Pick Ax Attack

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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. — A day after a man allegedly attacked two women with a pick ax in Springfield — the victims and the mother of the suspect are speaking out.

One of the victims describes Tuesday’s attack as brutal and insane as the suspect repeatedly swung at them with a pick ax.

“He would’ve caught me right in the kidney if she would not have pushed me, but instead he caught her here,” said victim, Lynette Sellers.

The stress is still evident as Sellers describes what she says was a violent attack that happened on L Street, just a little more than 24 hours ago.

“We were looking at the trees and the flowers and everything and the next thing we knew this guy that was like this, came busting right through us, knocked us almost down and started cursing at us and calling us names and telling us to get off his street,” said Sellers.

That man police say is 34-year-old Thomas Murphy.

Sellers says he started cursing at her and her friend Catherine Miller, telling them to get off her his street.

Murphy ran into his home.

When he came back — sellers say he was armed with a hammer and a pick ax.

“When he swung the first swing,I blocked it like this and he got my liter Mountain Dew bottle he went all the way through it and it was three quarters of the way full,” said Sellers.

Sellers says Murphy also knocked her phone away as she was talking with 9-1-1 dispatchers.

He also hit Miller in the torso sending her to the hospital.

One of the witnesses who watched part of the attack in shock, Murphy’s mother, Mary.

“Before yesterday, Tom never exhibited any violence. Never. People would be very afraid of him because he was very intense in his beliefs,” said Thomas’ mother, Mary Murphy.

Mary says her son suffers from schizophrenia and he’s been off his medication.

But she says what happened Tuesday afternoon is the result of a mental health system that’s failed her son.

“They put a civil commitment on Tom that was supposed to be for six months at the Heeran Center which is a lock down psychiatric facility,” said Mary Murphy.

Mary says she tried on three separate occasions to get her son help, but officials told her he wasn’t severe enough for treatment.

“Tom would either have to commit suicide or harm someone like he did yesterday,” said Mary Murphy.

As Mary sits on her front porch agonizing over what her son did she says if he wasn’t turned away from treatment Tuesday’s incident may have never happened and the victims like Lynette Sellers wouldn’t be left frustrated and traumatized.

“It doesn’t just make me angry at him, it makes me angry at the system. I just don’t understand how the system can bypass you for 34 years,” said Sellers.

12 comments

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  1. CraxyD says:

    FTA: “Mary says her son suffers from schizophrenia and he’s been off his medication.”

    Before you go blaming anyone there Mary, why was he off his medication?

    1. Feckless says:

      Before you go on blaming Mary, how due to expect an elderly woman to force her middle-aged son to take his medication?

    2. Mark says:

      Before you go blaming the mother, how exactly do you suggest a 50+ year old woman should force a violent 34 year old man to take medication? She already said she’s tried repeatedly to get help and to get him confined, without success. What else can she do?

    3. Anon says:

      Anosognosia…look it up. A classic symptom of schizophrenia. Their insanity is their reality. Blaming? No blame, an absolute fact. Sounds like you want to blame CraxyD.

      1. Anon says:

        Anosognosia…look it up. A classic symptom of schizophrenia. Their insanity is their reality. Blaming? No blame, an absolute fact. Sounds like you want to blame CraxyD.

        Such lack of insight is biological in origin, caused by damage to the frontal lobe, cingulate, and areas in the right cerebral hemisphere. Schizophrenia is an illness with causes brain damage which increases over time.

    4. Scott Thomas says:

      FTA: “Mary says she tried on three separate occasions to get her son help, but officials told her he wasn’t severe enough for treatment.”

      ““Tom would either have to commit suicide or harm someone like he did yesterday,” said Mary Murphy.”

      Read the whole thing CraxyD.

    5. Lexxi says:

      Obviously he chose not to take it. This is actually really common because this type of medication tends to be pretty unpleasant to take. It causes lots of side effects including felling dull and lethargic and a little sick all the time. These symptoms vary from person to person, but for many people, they just feel better off the medication.

      Once they have been off it long enough to have a relapse of mental illness, their thinking is impaired, so they do not understand what is causing their hallucinations or paranoia. They just don’t know what’s real and what isn’t.

      Fortunately most schizophrenics are not violent. However, they all need help from another person when unmedicated, and often need continued help to stay medicated. Treatment really varies because this mental illness varies widely.

      It seems to me in this situation, the man’s mother was attempting to be the one to help him, but knew it was more than she could handle. How can you force an angry violent adult to take medication if they don’t want to?

      If he had been institutionalized when his mother requested it this could have been prevented.

    6. Arret says:

      What was she supposed to do, CraxyD, force feed the medication to her grown son? It’s difficult to consistently reason with a person with Schizophrenia. He needed professional help a long time ago. It’s entirely appropriate to be angry at our broken mental health system.

    7. Becki says:

      CraxyD: it would be wise to inform yourself on mental health issues especially amongst adults and certainly about schizophrenia before you cast judgement. It’s very difficult to medicate adults who aren’t aware they need help and/or refuse it. The only way to force an adult to take meds is thru the courts and their hands are tied until someone is hurt or dead.

    8. MotherOfThree says:

      The supporting responses are so encouraging to see. Maybe it is because so many people are now having first-hand experiences with the ravages of mental illness, so they have empathy and understanding. Others have listened with an open heart and mind to those who are trying to educate us about mental illness – people who personally have to deal with its painful, destabilizing, life-altering effects, and those who are put through the agony of watching their beloved children suffer. Both groups of people deserve so much gratitude from all of us – they have persisted in their efforts to help others even though they are often heaped with scorn and ignorant blame.
      So many people are suffering. It’s really heartbreaking to think about. I try to imagine if when I was a young adult my life started unraveling at the seams. All of my hopes and dreams, my preparations for the future, diverted into anxieties, frightening confusion and delusions and fear. I don’t know what would be worse – having to suffer that personally or having to watch my child suffer. Actually – I think I do know which would be worse. Which is why I can’t understand why anyone would allow themselves to make off-the-cuff comments about the mother needing to be jailed.
      My best wishes to everyone involved in this situation. I absolutely agree with the victim – if we can bring a problem-solving attitude to the table and help those suffering from mental illness it will be a win-win situation.

  2. Becki says:

    I feel for these victims but my heart really goes out to the mother. I know what it’s like to try to get help for your child and not get it. How sad this had to happen in order for this man to get help. If the mother reads this, I want her to know she is not alone even though I know she feels as if she is. Having a mentally ill child is isolating even if you know others with mentally ill children. I hope your son gets treated with kindness and gets the help he needs.

  3. Michael says:

    Sounds like a mineral deficiency.
    Either not enough iron (handcuffs, shackles, or bars) or lead.
    If mom was so concerned she should have called authorities a long time ago.
    Either the perpetrator is responsible and should be in jail or mom is responsible and she should be in jail.

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