The man charged with the January 2014 stabbing death of his mother at their Forest Hill home was recently found not criminally responsible for the crime, ahead of a trial in the case which had been scheduled to start Monday.
Isaac A. Ojiabo Jr., 21, was committed to a state mental health facility following a Dec. 16 hearing during which Judge Elizabeth Bowen accepted his plea of “not criminally responsible by reason of insanity” on a charge of first-degree murder; the Harford County State’s Attorney’s Office did not object to the ruling, according to court documents.
A second charge, the carrying of a dangerous weapon with intent to injure, was dropped. Prosecutors said in May they intended to seek a sentence of life without parole had Ojiabo been found guilty at trial.
Ojiabo was remanded to the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup, a facility operated by the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. According to a commitment order signed by Bowen, he will receive “institutional inpatient treatment and care”; he could eventually be released back into the community if it is determined that he does not pose a danger to himself or others, and state authorities agree.
Ojiabo was charged in the Jan. 29, 2014 stabbing death of his mother, Joy Ojiabo, 51, in their home in the 1600 block of Rushing Stream Court in the Morning Brook Farm development just off Morse Road. According to investigators, Ojiabo’s body was found at approximately 5:30 p.m. that evening by her husband, Anya Ojiabo, as he returned home from work.
The younger Ojiabo was not present in the home at the time. He was taken into custody without incident at approximately 4:30 a.m. the next morning, when detectives canvassing the Forest Hill area located him in his family’s white Lexus SUV at the intersection of Crouse and Putnam Road, police said.
Ojiabo was incarcerated at the Harford County Detention Center without bail following his arrest. He was evaluated in May by psychologist Kim Witczak at the request of his criminal defense lawyer , who detailed her findings in a letter to the court.
“It is my opinion that Mr. Ojiabo has sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him,” Witczak wrote. However, she added, “I believe Mr. Ojiabo requires more extensive evaluation with regards to criminal responsibility at a facility of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.”
The results of that second evaluated remain sealed at the Harford County Circuit Courthouse, but were apparently sufficient to support a finding that he was not criminally responsible in his mother’s death. Ojiabo’s lawyer, Steven Silverman of Baltimore, did not return a call for comment Friday.
According to the Harford County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to the Ojiabo home three times in the year preceding Joy Ojiabo’s death for domestic disturbances between the woman and her son.