Alleged Foster Farms shooter may plead insanity

Crime

Adrian Nickerson's mother said powerful marijuana concentrates worsened his mental health issues

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man accused of firing a shot inside the Foster Farms plant in Corvallis may plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Court documents filed by Adrian Nickerson’s lawyer say they are following procedures to possibly mount an insanity defense.

Police say Nickerson went into a women’s restroom on July 18 to change into his uniform and fired a shot into the ceiling when a woman entered. No one was injured. ​

Investigators found an AK-47 and 15 loaded magazines in the home of the temporary worker, court documents said.​

“We are having him psychologically evaluated to decide how to proceed,” wrote defense attorney Mindi Rich, in an email to the court and the Benton County District Attorney on July 29.​

Then on Aug. 6, Nickerson’s lawyer filed paperwork titled: “Notice of Intent to Rely Upon Evidence of Insanity, and Evidence of the Lack of Intent.”

Prosecutors have the right to have the 22-year-old examined by their own psychiatrist. ​

If he’s found “guilty except for insanity,” he would not go to jail.  ​

“When an adult commits a felony and is found by the courts to be Guilty Except for Insanity (GEI), the judge is likely to place the individual under the jurisdiction of the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board,” according to the State of Oregon’s website about the insanity defense.

A judge decides whether to send those defendants to the state mental hospital in Salem, or whether the person can be treated and supervised in a less secure program.

About 12% of defendants who are Guilty Except for Insanity are not sent to the state hospital each year, according to the Oregon Psychiatric Security Review Board.

Nickerson’s lawyers have been granted a delay in court proceedings while he is being evaluated until Sept. 5.

The day of the incident, his mother told KOIN 6 News she knew her son needed help. ​

“I can’t imagine why he would do this. At all. He didn’t talk bad about his job. I saw him the day before yesterday. He said he was going to go to work today. I don’t know how this happened,” said Sandra Ravenstone.​

She told KOIN 6 News she believed powerful marijuana concentrates made his mental health issues worse. ​

“It broke his mind,” she said. “He just didn’t have the tolerance or his brain wasn’t right. I don’t know if it was one of those things that’s just lying there waiting. You don’t know, and you just do the wrong thing. And you just — it just breaks you. I don’t know.”​

Investigators said Nickerson was involved in a traffic crash shortly before the shooting and, realizing he didn’t have his license with him, grabbed his backpack which contained a handgun and ran to his job at Foster Farms. ​

He had no previous run-ins with Corvallis police but he faces a long list of charges for the traffic crash and the Foster Farms incident, including burglary, reckless endangerment and theft.​

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