Dallas Judge Finds Man Accused of Killing 4-Year-Old Incompetent for Trial

Darriynn Brown
Darriynn Brown | Image by Dallas County Sheriff’s Department

A judge has ruled that the man accused of abducting 4-year-old Cash Gernon from his bed in Dallas and stabbing him to death last May is incompetent to stand trial for his capital murder charge.

A Dallas County grand jury indicted Darriynn Brown, an 18-year-old man from Dallas, on a capital murder charge in connection to the crime in August 2021.

Brown’s attorney, Heath Harris, said his client suffers from multiple mental disorders, including schizophrenia. He said Brown was hearing voices when he was seen in a home surveillance footage lifting Cash from his bed.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Magistrate Judge Farrel Chapman ordered that Brown be sent to the North Texas State Hospital System for treatment after two doctors evaluated him and determined that he was incompetent.

One of the doctors was hired by prosecutors, while the other was hired by the defense lawyers.

Brown is accused of killing Cash after abducting the sleeping 4-year-old from his bed in southwestern Dallas’ Mountain Creek area. A jogger found Cash’s body on the morning of May 15, 2021, in the 7500 block of Saddleridge Drive.

Surveillance video showed a man, who prosecutors claim was Brown, in the room where Cash and his twin brother were sleeping at about 5 a.m. The man in the video grabbed Cash and walked out of the room.

The video also shows the suspect returning to the room approximately two-and-a-half hours later and lifting the blanket covering Cash’s twin, but then leaving the room.

Brown was charged with capital murder the following June, and indicted in August.

Despite Judge Chapman’s ruling, Brown could still stand trial in Cash’s murder if he regains competency. Texas law states that a defendant must be able to understand court proceedings and help with their own defense if they are to stand trial.

The judge’s ruling is not an indication that Brown was incapable of comprehending his actions at the time he allegedly killed the 4-year-old, as competency to stand trial is different from competency at the time the crime was committed.

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