A man who confessed to stabbing and killing his roommate in Rockville last year was found not criminally responsible by a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge Tuesday.
Carlos Tiul-Tiul, 30, was facing a first-degree murder charge after he was arrested by Montgomery County police in May 2011 for stabbing one of his new roommates, 27-year-old Tomas Mo-Choc, while the two men were watching a television soap opera, according to police. Tiul-Tiul apparently became convinced that Mo-Choc was having an affair with Tiul-Tiul's wife after watching a love triangle unfold on the television show, according to attorneys.
Maryland state law clearly outlines the requirements for a defendant in a criminal case to be determined not criminally responsible, a ruling often referred to as “the insanity defense” by attorneys.
“A defendant is not criminally responsible for criminal conduct if, at the time of that conduct, the defendant, because of a mental disorder or mental retardation, lacks substantial capacity to: appreciate the criminality of that conduct; or conform that conduct to the requirements of law,” the law states.
Montgomery County Public Defender Brian Shefferman, who represented Tiul-Tiul, said he was glad that his client will be receiving the treatment he needs. Following Tuesday’s ruling, Tiul-Tiul was remanded to the custody of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, specifically the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center, a facility that houses and provides treatment to the criminally insane.
"Under Maryland law it's called guilty but not criminally responsible; he was mentally ill at the time," Shefferman said of the ruling, adding that the criminal charges against Tiul-Tiul have been effectively dropped in favor of providing him treatment in a secure location apart from the general population.
Tiul-Tiul can be released from the hospital center if he can prove to a doctor that he is safe and stable enough and after he passes several mental evaluations, Shefferman said.
Deputy State’s Attorney John Maloney was also satisfied with the ruling, stating that Tiul-Tiul was clearly ill. Tiul-Tiul was evaluated by as many as two different mental health professionals before the hearing Tuesday, Maloney added.
“He stabbed a complete stranger because they were watching T.V. and he started to believe [the victim] was having an affair with his wife,” Maloney said. “Basically, [Tiul-Tiul] said ‘The T.V. told me to do it.’”
Tiul-Tiul had only arrived in Maryland from Kentucky a few hours before the stabbing to begin work with a landscaping company. He was staying in the 14100 block of Travilah Road with Mo-Choc and several other men who worked for the same company, police said.
Several of Tiul-Tiul's new roommates witnessed the stabbing and called police after Tiul-Tiul fled the house. A responding police officer saw Tiul-Tiul still holding the knife down the street from the house, police said.
Tiul-Tiul tried to stab himself in the stomach with the knife but was ultimately placed under arrest after the officer used a Taser to subdue him. Under questioning after a brief period of recovery in Suburban Hospital, Tiul-Tiul confessed to the murder, police said.