MASON CITY, Iowa – Today at a hearing in Cerro Gordo County District Court, a judge is deciding the future incarceration of Thomas Barlas Jr. The judge says after an evaluation, doctors determined Barlas Jr. is mentally ill and is still a danger to himself and the public. The judge is basing the placement on Barlas’ doctor’s recommendation, which is to place him in the Cherokee Mental Health Institute. Barlas will be taken there on Thursday, September 4th.
The evaluation stated that Barlas Jr. is suffering from bi-polar disorder leading to psychosis. Dr. Gary Keller is the one who evaluated Barlas Jr. at Oakdale. He also put that Barlas Jr. had two similar, documented, episodes leading up the murder.
Once Barlas Jr. is sent to Cherokee, every 60 days an evaluation will be sent to the court on how he is doing. Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen says a public hearing will have to be held if Barlas Jr.’s chief medical officer feels his mental health is improving to the point of releasing him back into the community.
Dalen says this case will hopefully show people that mental illness is a real and sometimes dangerous thing.
“What we need to do, is we need to continue to work in the mental health area. People that do have mental illnesses we have to treat appropriate.”