Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando inmate dies from injuries received in suicide attempt

BROOKSVILLE — As deputies closed in on him east of Brooksville one day in 2009, Charles Michael DeHart tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head with a handgun.

DeHart, who was wanted for failing to appear for a driving-under-the-influence trial and for allegations he'd robbed a convenience store, didn't succeed. He did cause severe brain damage, enough to cause near complete blindness and for a neurologist to determine he wasn't mentally competent to stand trial.

On Wednesday, DeHart tried again to kill himself, this time hanging himself with a bedsheet in the Hernando County Detention Center. He was taken to a hospital, where he died Monday morning, a Sheriff's Office report stated. An administrative review is under way, the report stated.

Despite his history, DeHart, 47, was not on suicide watch because he'd spent time in a state hospital and had been sent to Hernando County in July fit to face charges, officials said Monday.

DeHart's story is tragic, said Dave Bauer, his public defender. "I think this is a case where the resources available to us just weren't adequate to deal with the guy," he said.

As DeHart recovered at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa and was deemed mentally incompetent, prosecutors struck a deal, Bauer recalled: If DeHart was still not fit for trial after five years of annual evaluations, the DUI charge would be dropped and he would not be charged with armed robbery and fleeing to elude law enforcement.

DeHart was supposed to go to an assisted living facility, but he didn't have money or insurance, Bauer said. He wound up at his mother's house in Brooksville, where he was later arrested on charges of battery.

DeHart was once again deemed mentally incompetent and sent to a state mental health facility. He was released and returned to Hernando County, Assistant State Attorney Don Barbee said. That meant he was competent to stand trial, and the incident with his mother showed he was still dangerous, Barbee said.

The Public Defender's Office asked for another evaluation, convinced DeHart would once again be deemed incompetent. Officials also had found a lockdown assisted living facility in Tampa that would take him, Bauer said.

Five days before he hung himself, DeHart appeared in a Brooksville courtroom. The mental health evaluation was still pending, and another pretrial hearing was set for May 13.

News researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or

Hernando inmate dies from injuries received in suicide attempt 04/25/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 25, 2011 10:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Fire at Wesley Chapel home leads to discovery of marijuana plants


    WESLEY CHAPEL — A fire that broke out Monday at a Wesley Chapel home led to the discovery of a room with marijuana plants, the Pasco Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Kriseman gets 2nd police union endorsement


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is already backed by the city's largest police union, the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman has secured another police union endorsement
  3. Vision Zero strategy for safer Hillsborough roads: repaint, narrow lanes, educate


    TAMPA — What would it take to eliminate all traffic deaths in the county that has the most of them?

    Josephine Winiarz, left, and Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp, center, help paint a bike lane on the Bullard Parkway Bridge in Temple Terrace in April. Brighter lanes to make motorists more aware are among the solutions developed to cut pedestrian fatalities [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. For starters: Rays vs. Blue Jays: Looking to make it 2 in a row


    Coming off Sunday's win over the Mariners - just their fourth in the last 16 games - the Rays are looking to make it two in a row tonight as they take on the Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series.

    The teams played last week in Toronto, with the Blue Jays taking three of four.

    RHP Chris …

    Chris Archer will be on the mound for the Rays.
  5. Commissioner Manfred to visit Trop Wednesday for Rays-Blue Jays


    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.

    And so is Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

    And they are scheduled to meet with the media.

    But before you get excited - or riled up - know it's not to make any big announcement on the stadium or the overall future …

    Commissioner Rob Manfred is slated to be at the Trop on Wednesday.