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Report: Suspect has long history in mental health system

Clyde Burrell Jr.

By Joe Beck

The man accused by authorities of trying to kill Front Royal police Sgt. Bryan Courtney has a history of being in and out of hospitals and mental health treatment programs during much of his adult life, according to an evaluation by a clinical psychologist at Central State Hospital in Petersburg.

Angela Torres concluded that Clyde Eugene Burrell Jr. understood courtroom procedures, "the adversarial nature of the proceedings against him," and possessed the ability to help his attorney in defending himself against charges of attempted capital murder, malicious wounding and two counts of assault and battery against a law enforcement officer.

Torres reported that Burrell is currently diagnosed with substance and personality disorders and is under medication. Nevertheless, she gave a favorable description of his words and actions during interviews she conducted in early December.

"His attention and concentration were good," she said. "He was cooperative, coherent, agreeable and did not engage in any odd or inappropriate behavior."

Burrell was born in Winchester and dropped out of high school after three years there, according to the report. Since then, he has held jobs in fast food, merchandise sales and as a convenience store clerk and tour guide, Torres wrote.

The report states that Burrell reported being homeless for about 10 weeks before his arrest. At one point, he "was reportedly told to leave the home of one of his sisters with whom he had been residing," the report states.

Torres found he was admitted to Central State Hospital twice in 1999, one of which was in a part of the hospital within Riverside Regional Jail. Burrell also reported spending some time at Carroll County Hospital in Maryland in 1998, "secondary to him breaking his parent's door," the report states.

There was also a stint at Warren County Memorial Hospital and outpatient services through the Northwestern Community Services Board.

Torres's report gives a long list of previous mental problems attributed to Burrell, including bipolar, adjustment and personality disorders along with polysubstance dependence, a condition linked to psychological addiction to combinations of drugs or alcohol.

The report states that Burrell told Torres he sometimes sees "a thousand images of people's faces" and "sees evil faces," but denied seeing things that others do not.

"He denied current thoughts of self-harm, suicide or wanting to harm others," the report states.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com


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