TAMPA – Prosecutors agree that Mikese Morse was insane when one day in 2018 he drove off the New Tampa road, stormed and killed a man and injured two young boys.
At a routine court hearing on Wednesday, the state said Morse should be found guilty of insanity related to the death of Pedro Aguerreberry in 2018 due to his insanity.
It was an official acknowledgment that Morse, who suffers from schizophrenia, was so mentally ill when the crime occurred that he could not distinguish good from injustice and could not be held criminally liable.
The judge will have to decide what comes next for Morse. The trial outside the jury is set for ril.
If Morse, 33, is not officially found guilty of insanity, he will not go to jail, but may be handed over to the hospital for long-term mental health treatment.
Morse, 33, was arrested on June 24, 2018. Tampa police said he was riding a Dodge Avenger on New Tampa Boulevard as he passed Aguerreberry and his two sons, ages 3 and 8, who were riding bicycles on the sidewalk.
Morse, police said, turned in a semicircle, then broke the grass and plowed into a threesome. The boys are injured. Their father died.
Shortly before the accident, Morse posted videos on his Instagram account in which he incoherently chattered about the “devil” and “changing energies” within him.
Days earlier, he walked into the Tampa District Police Office and approached a police officer about “energy projections” and conspiracies and said he feared he might injure someone. He was handed over to a mental health facility under the Florida Baker Act, but was later released.
A statement from Hillsborough Attorney General Andrew Warren’s office said the case showed “the consequences of a broken mental health system in Florida, and the victim’s wife and children remain holding parts.”
“The law is clear: you can’t convict a person who was so mentally unstable that he didn’t know good and evil,” Warren’s statement said. “So we’re doing everything we can to get him taken to Florida State Hospital to make sure he never hurts anyone again.”
Morse’s mother Khadee Morse welcomed the news, but condemned what she said was a humiliation to her son and the family of loved ones who have mental illness.
Years before the tragedy, the Morse family said they fought to give him access to adequate mental health care. He had never been in trouble before, he was a college student and a prominent athlete who qualified for the Olympic rehearsals.
“I almost lost my sanity trying to save my son’s common sense,” she said.
In a lengthy Facebook post to Warren, she asked that her son not be seen as a case, but as a person. She called for greater understanding and support for families whose loved ones have mental illness.
“The truth is, the Aguerreberry family experienced a horrific loss that should never have happened,” she wrote. “However, they are not the only ones holding the pieces.”