Mentally Disturbed Suspect Transferred out of Missoula Jail
49 year-old Michael O’Keefe, who has had several run-ins with Missoula law enforcement over the last two weeks, is no longer in the Missoula County Jail.
Chief Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks explained that O’Keefe presented problems to the courts and the jail because of his disruptive behavior, due to the fact that he is mentally disturbed.
“There are two things at play here,” said Marks. “As the deputy county attorney at Mr. O’Keefe’s first appearance noted, there was little in the way of any criminal history prior to this unfortunate run he’s had here. When someone doesn’t pose a flight risk, we’re generally going to be looking to recommending their release unless it’s a particularly violent crime. That’s one of the considerations at play here.”
The second issue that was apparent to everyone in the courtroom at O’Keefe’s first appearance was his overtly belligerent behavior to the jail staff, the public defender at the jail, and via video to the judge.
“The reality is that our jail is not well-equipped to handle anyone who’s going through a significant mental health crisis,” he said. “We have limitations in terms of treatment that can be provided in the jail setting, limitations on medications because those medications can also be used for recreational purposes, for lack of a better term, so they are not permitted in the jail environment.”
Marks was hopeful that proposed jail diversion programs might help in providing treatment for individuals such as O’Keefe.
After his second court appearance this week, O’Keefe was ordered held on $250,000 bond, and was transferred to another facility away from the Missoula County Jail.