Make us your home page
Instagram

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 [email protected]

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

Loading...
  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)

    Nation

    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102