A 27-year-old Virginia man who dragged a black woman from her car and threatened to kill her while using racial slurs was just found not guilty by reason of insanity on Tuesday.
Matthew Ellis pulled up to a black woman in her car last May and began screaming at her. The woman tried to drive away from the man, but he chased her down and rammed her back bumper. After the collision, the man opened the black woman’s car and dragged her out by her ankles and explicitly threatened to kill her.
The woman was able to get away and run to a nearby building, where two men restrained Ellis after he attempted to chase her down. Ellis shouted racial slurs at the woman while being restrained. When police arrived, Ellis continued to spout racial slurs and even spit on the officers. One officer asked Ellis if he’d attacked the woman because she was black, to which he blatantly responded “yes.”
The charges facing Ellis, which include a hate crime, kidnapping, abduction and attacking an officer, have since been dropped on the advice of two clinical psychologists (one of whom was engaged by the prosecution) who concluded that the attack was a “manic episode with psychotic features.”
Ellis will be committed at the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services for evaluation until officials deem him fit to be released back into the public.
Ellis’ family had reportedly begged him to get the help of mental health professionals just a few days before the attack. His attorney said that when he first met Ellis, he’d accused him of being an “impostor lawyer sent to further the conspiracy and injustice the defendant believes is being perpetrated against him.”
His attorney says now that he is taking his medication, Ellis has stabilized, pointing to this as proof he’s “not some violent racist.”