Mother Says Son needed Mental Health Services Instead of Felony Prosecution by Yolo D.A.
(From Press Release) – Patti Pape – mother of recently-deceased UC Davis student Eric Pape – wants answers about why the Yolo County D.A.’s office pressed serious felony charges against her late son for an incident that occurred when he was having a panic attack while receiving treatment in a hospital.
“The D.A.’s office should have realized that this was a mental health case and should never have charged my son. I believe that the stress of his felony trial contributed to his eventual suicide,” she said.
Ms. Pape and a few others will make brief comments at rally this Thursday, May 17 at Noon at the UC Davis MU Patio.
According to family and friends Mr. Pape began struggling with depression and anxiety after transferring to UC Davis and sought treatment through student health services. After a suicide attempt in January 2017, Mr. Pape was taken to Sutter Hospital and placed on a psychiatric hold. While in the hospital Mr. Pape had a panic attack. Joshua Fuller, a nurse at the hospital, reported that he and Mr. Pape then had an altercation that resulted in Mr. Fuller’s shoulder being dislocated. After his hospitalization Mr. Pape successfully completed an intensive outpatient program at Sutter Health, and appeared to be doing fine according to friends and family.
The District Attorney’s office on behalf of Mr. Fuller charged Mr. Pape with felony battery, and refused to dismiss them even after learning of the circumstances of the incident. The case was still unresolved at the time of Mr. Pape’s death.
Ms. Pape finds these actions difficult to accept, noting: “He wasn’t in his right mind and would never intentionally hurt anyone. Eric needed mental health services but instead he was prosecuted for a felony.”
Yolo County Public Defender Tracie Olson recently expressed similar thoughts to the Davis Enterprise stating “If an individual strikes someone in the midst of a seizure, that individual would never be prosecuted. We’ve got to start viewing mental illness for what it is — a health condition that no one voluntarily signs up for.”
She went on to add that “Eric, the youngest of my five children, was studying Psychology at UC Davis and was planning to pursue a teaching credential. If he was found guilty of a felony his options would be limited for careers and the future. It was weighing heavily on him.”