How WMAR-TV Baltimore covers autistic charged with murder

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Age: 63
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07 Feb 2018, 2:07 am

Autistic teen charged in grandmother's death Police say suspect also assaulted mother & sister

Quote:
You could call it the trigger that turned the home on Taylor Avenue in Arnold into a crime scene back in October.

That's when 19-year old Joel Johnson-Liphart's mother asked him to clean up a mess inside the house.

"He was upset,” said Lt. Ryan Frashure of the Anne Arundel County Police Department, “His family members tried to calm him down, and during that process, he assaulted his mother, his sister and his grandmother."

A longtime neighbor, Marga Tucker, sheds light on a case, which appears to be absent of any criminal intent.

"That was definitely a shock,” said Tucker, “I was not aware of any conflict between he and his grandmother. I was aware he had autism and had been diagnosed as a very young boy."

A young boy that grew into a challenged 19-year-old that now faces the greatest challenge of his life.

"You sometimes do hear about aggression as part of an autism spectrum disorder. That typically is in response to a situation," said Rebecca Rienzi, the executive Director of Pathfinders for Autism, who adds she hopes Joel’s case doesn’t give people the wrong idea about those diagnosed with autism who are 10 times more likely to be victims of crimes, "There are no risk factors at all with a diagnosis of autism for someone to be violent towards another person. Absolutely, no connection. There's no research that indicates that. No evidence at all that shows any propensity for violence."

Joel faces a series of charges including involuntary manslaughter, assault and reckless endangerment.

A judge's order sent him to Sheppard Pratt shortly after the incident and he remains there today.


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman