TAFT, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Monday all was quiet at 311 Third Street in Taft, a small community in unincorporated Orange County -- a completely different scene from Saturday night, when deputies were called to the home for a wellbeing check and walked into a crime scene where 81-year-old Julian Gresham was found stabbed to death inside.
Invesigators say Gresham’s own daughter, 45-year-old Tessie Lynette Gresham, and her boyfriend, 53-year-old David Charles Buchan, are the persons of interest in the case. On Sunday, deputies say both Gresham and Buchan were taken into custody and assessed mental evaluations.
According to court records, Buchan has a long documented history of mental illness and violence. According to the Orange County Clerk of Courts, police arrested Buchan in 1994 for theft and robbery, in 1995 for robbery and aggravated battery, and in April 2007 for going after a deputy with a knife at his mother’s winter park home. Orange County Sheriffs Office says in that case, the deputy thought his safety was in jeopardy and shot Buchan. Then, two months later, in June 2007, Buchan was arrested for attempted second-degree murder for stabbing his mother dozens of times. In that case, the judge found Buchan not guilty by reason of insanity.
FOX 35 talked to criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Whitney Boan about a judge accepting a "not guilty by insanity" defense. “It’s not very common. It’s a high standard. It’s heavily monitored. In his case he was civilly committed at a minimum of what it appears for a month or two,” said Boan.
It appears that, since then, Buchan has been in outpatient therapy. According to Buchan’s own sister, that wasn’t enough. Twice she wrote letters to the judge saying her brother was a danger, saying he’d been diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 14. He hears voices, she even wrote the judge that outpatient therapy is not working. She told the judge that Buchan needs to be in a hospital and that “he’s going to get killed or kill someone.”
There are several documented entries that are classified from psychiatrists, which Boan says a judge would take very seriously; however, it appears as though the judge felt Buchan was stable enough to live on his own, while being required to take his prescribed meds and see his mental health specialists.
“We don’t know exactly what the court reviewed in making its decision but it appears at least like proper procedures were followed from what I can see in the court filing,” said Boan.
Orange County Sheriffs Office Captain Angelo Nieves says the investigation into Julian Gresham’s murder is on-going.