The brutal murder of five family members in Lino Lakes contained a tragedy within a tragedy.
Larry S. Dame of Circle Pines told police he killed his sister's family according to complaints charging him with five counts of second-degree murder. The complaint accused him of stabbing all but his sister, and bludgeoning all five with a hammer as they slept in the early morning hours of Oct. 19. The three children were ages 12, 9 and 22 months.
Compounding the terrible loss of life is the recent news that Dame had talked about hearing voices telling him his family was out to kill him and had asked to be admitted to a hospital the day before the slayings.
Officials at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids followed their admission procedures, in which hearing such voices or the presence of a mental illness isn't enough evidence to dictate admission.
In fairness, hospitals are often placed in a no-win situation with the government regulations they are burdened with regarding admissions and dismissals. Also, it's extremely difficult to diagnose and predict the behavior of people with serious mental illnesses.
There are probably no easy solutions that will guarantee the prevention of such tragedies in the future. But our justice system should strive to find some way to evaluate people like Dame, who are perpetual offenders and who are capable of such deadly violence.
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