Accused park exposer still not competent for trial

Man arrested 46 times, but repeatedly released, committed after I-TEAM report

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At a mental competency review Monday for a man accused of masturbating in front of young children at a park in Jacksonville's Murray Hill neighborhood earlier this year, both sides agreed with a psychologist's evaluation that he's still not competent for prosecution. 

Travis Alexander's next review will be in March. He's charged with indecent exposure and lewd and lascivious exhibition in the February incident at Murray Hill Four Corners Park.

Alexander has been arrested more than 40 times in and around the Murray Hill neighborhood, but almost every time, the charges were dropped and he was released back into the community.

Well, not this time. 

According to Alexander's family, he's been diagnosed as schizophrenic and bipolar. Clinical psychologists identify that combination as schizoaffective disorder, a chronic mental health condition characterized by schizophrenia combined with symptoms of a mood disorder.

The I-TEAM's original story on Alexander followed his Feb. 27 arrest after parents told police he exposed himself to a group of preschool children at Murray Hill Four Corners Park and then began masturbating -- despite the parents' efforts to shield the kids.

After his arrest, the I-TEAM did some digging into Alexander's record and found he had been arrested more than 40 times and held under Florida's Baker Act more than 30 times.

An I-TEAM analysis of Alexander's prior arrest records found that, almost every time he was taken into custody, the charges were immediately dropped and Alexander was sent to a mental health facility and released fairly quickly once he was back on his medication. 

But, according to neighbors, he would quickly re-offend. They said they lived in fear for their safety due to his instability.

His family members told the I-TEAM they were everything they could to get him help, but his mental illness led him to often wander the streets alone.

In March, while the I-TEAM investigating this story and exposing the cycle of mental illness, a judge ordered Alexander to Florida State Hospital for treatment.

On Monday, about six months later, the judge deemed that Alexander was, again, not competent to stand trial.

With his next hearing set for March, that would mean a full year off the streets -- one of the longest stretches ever in Alexander's adult life. 

Under current laws, the maximum time Alexander can be held in the state hospital is five years. That's because it's not against the law to be mentally ill, and a mentally ill person cannot be held against their will. 


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