Mom: Son accused of killing UT student needed help

Lawrence F. James, mugshot, taken July 18, 2010. / Lucas County Jail

The mother of a Toledo man who confessed to fatally stabbing a University of Toledo student Sunday night says her son would not have committed the crime had he gotten the help he deserved.

Dy'Ann Newble says her son, Lawrence Fitzgerald James, has suffered with mental illness since he was a teenager. He has committed several crimes since the age of nine, and even attempted to claim he was incompetent to stand trial during his first felonious assault case in 2008.

James, 24, was arrested Sunday night after admitting he stabbed Casey Bucher as the student was walking on Westwood near Bancroft around 8:00 p.m. The University of Toledo sophomore, and Anthony Wayne graduate, was walking from Maxwell's Brew to his home, just a few blocks away, when James approached asking for cigarettes and change. When Bucher refused to hand over anything, James stabbed him once in the chest then fled. Bucher died a short time later at an area hospital. Police located James inside his home on Indian River Rd., just behind the restaurant.

Newble says she has tried for years to get help from the State of Ohio for her son's mental condition. She wrote a letter to the court in 2008, as James' was being tried for stabbing a Toledo gas station clerk, asking that he serve his time in a hospital rather than a prison. The pleas for help were ignored, according to Newble.

James has been charged with murder after Sunday's incident. Newble says the incident would not have occurred had her son gotten help. She says he was not on his prescribed medications for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder at the time of the stabbing.

James is currently being held in the Lucas County Jail on $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court on Monday, July 26.