Columbia Missouri Tribune Online

Tribune Online News Story
Story ran on June 26, 1996

Jefferson City (AP) – Missourians could be more easily committed to mental institutions under a bill signed yesterday by Gov. Mel Carnahan.

Carnahan credited passage of the new law to Mark McBride, whose parents, James and Nancy McBride, were killed in 1994 by his schizophrenic brother, Matthew, after Matthew was released from a mental institution.
The governor noted that he signed the legislation on what would have been Nancy McBride’s 65th birthday.

“With my signature, you give your mother the best birthday present a son could ever offer—a gift of life for countless others. Many Missouri families will never lose a loved one because the McBride bill has become law.” Carnahan told Mark McBride and other family members.

He called the law “something positive that came out of the tragedy my family faced. It is the beginning of the end for family nightmares.”

The law makes it easier to involuntarily commit people to mental institutions by removing the requirement that judges determine first that the person poses a physical danger to themselves or to others before ordering an evaluation.

Patterns of behavior, such as failure to take medication, could be taken into account by a judge, who also would have the option to order six months of outpatient treatment for patients who need monitoring.

Previously, a judge could order a person to undergo a 96-hour mental health evaluation. After that, a judge could either commit the person to 21 days of treatment or release them.

The bill was drafted by a panel of experts appointed last year by Carnahan. Matthew McBride, now 26 and a patient at Fulton State Hospital stabbed his parents after being released from a mental institution.Columbia Missouri Tribune Online